Page 1

c s o o



o o a.


West Area Recorder Colin Jakes, 7 Maltward Avenue, BURY ST EDMUNDS IP33 3XN Tel: 01284 702215 Email:

North-East Area Recorder Andrew Green, 17 Cherrywood, HARLESTON Norfolk IP20 9LP Tel: 07766 900063 Email: andrew@waveney1

South-East Area Recorder Scott Mayson, 8 St Edmunds Close, Springfields, WOODBRIDGE, IP12 4UY Tel: 01394 385595 Email:

SUFFOLK BIRDS VOL. 60 A review of birds in Suffolk in 2010

Editor Nick Mason

Greatly assisted by Philip Murphy (Systematic List)

Adam Gretton (Papers) Bill Baston (Photos) Phil Whittaker (Artwork)



Published by The Suffolk Naturalists' Society, c/o The Museum, High Street, Ipswich IP1 3 Q H Š The Suffolk Naturalists' Society 2011 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of the Copyright owners.

The SNS is a Registered Charity No. 206084.

ISSN 0264—5793

Printed by Healeys Printers Ltd, Unit 10-11, The Sterling Complex, Farthing Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 5AP.


CONTENTS Page Editorial: NickMason 5 Review of the Year: NickMason 7 Lesser Kestrel at Minsmere - species new to Suffolk: Adam Rowlands 12 King Eider - species new to Suffolk Chris Darby 14 First Suffolk breeding record of Marsh Warbler David Pearson 17 Cavenham Heath Chris Hainsworth and Mike Taylor 19 2010 Nest finding observations, data and records: breeding bird surveys at Sutton, Hollesley, Blaxhall and Tunstall Commons Richard Tomlinson and Graham Button 23 The 2010 Suffolk Bird Report: Introduction 27 Systematic List 29 Appendices 150 List of Contributors 155 Gazetteer 157 Earliest and Latest Dates of Summer Migrants 159 A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk 160 Rare Birds in Suffolk 2010: David Walsh 164 Suffolk Ringing Report 2010: Simon Evans 168 T h e artwork in this Report is by Peter Beeson, Su G o u g h and J o n n y R o n k i n .

List of Plates

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

King Eider Bill Baston King Eider Bill Baston King Eider Jon Evans Pintail Amanda Hayes Green-winged Teal Mike Parker Smew Wayne Geater Black-necked Grebe Jon Evans Red-necked Grebe Bill Bastón Bittern Rebecca Nason Stone Curlew Jon Evans Lesser Kestrel Robin Harvey Coots Bill Bastón Avocet Amanda Hayes Dotterei Jon Evans Golden Piover Chris Mayne Jack Snipe Jon Evans Arctic Skua Jon Evans Stock Dove Liz Cutting Long-eared Owl Bill Bastón









20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38.

40 40 40 40 40 40 41 41 41 41 41 41 80 80 80 80 81 81 81

81 Short-eared Owl ¡an Clarke 81 Barn Owl Ian Goodall 120 Wryneck Jon Evans 120 Pallid Swift Lee Gregory 120 Barn Swallow Amanda Hayes Red-rumped Swallow James Kennerley 120 121 Waxwings Bill Bastón Isabelline Wheatear Andrew Easton 121 121 Whinchat James Kennerley 121 Blackcap Bill Bastón 121 Marsh Warbler Bill Bastón 121 Reed Warbler Amanda Hayes 160 Spotted Flycatcher Liz Cutting Northern Long-tailed Tit Sean Nixon 160 160 BeardedTit Amanda Hayes 161 Jay Liz Cutting White-throated Sparrow BUI Bastón 161 161 Twite Bill Bastón 161 Lesser Redpoll Kit Day

F r o n t c o v e r : I n c u b a t i n g W o o d c o c k Jeremy Oxford T h e c o p y r i g h t r e m a i n s t h a t o f t h e p h o t o g r a p h e r s a n d artists



Suffolk Birci Report


Notice to Contributors Suffolk Birds is an annual publication of records, notes and papers on all aspects of Suffolk ornithology. Except for records and field descriptions submitted through the county recorders, all material should be original. It should not have been published elsewhere or offered complete or in part to any other journal. Authors should carefully study this issue and follow the style of présentation, especially in relation to référencés and tables. Where relevant, nomenclature and order should follow the latest published for The British List by the British Ornithologist's Union and available on their website at English names should follow the same list. Contributions should, if possible, be submitted to the editor by email or on a CD/DVD and written in Microsoft Word. If typed, manuscripts should be double-spaced, with wide margins, on one side of the paper only. They must be in the final form for publication: proofs of longer papers are returned to authors, but altérations must be confined to corrections of printer's errors. The cost of any other altérations may be charged to the author. Photographs and line drawings are required to complément each issue. Suitable photographs of birds, preferably taken in Suffolk, can be either digital or in the form of 35mm transparencies. A payment of £12 will be made to the photographer for each photograph published and £12 for each drawing. Every possible effort will be made to take care of the original photographs and artwork. However, photographers and artists are reminded that neither the editor nor the SNS can be held responsible in the unlikely event that loss or damage occur. Authors may wish to illustrate their papers, but this will be subject to the illustrations being of the standard required by the editor and the décision on such matters will rest with him or her. Material submitted for publication should be sent to the editor no later than March 1 st of each year. Authors of main papers may request up to five free copies of the journal. Any opinions expressed in this Report are those of the contributor and are not necessarily those of the Suffolk Naturalists' Society or the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group.

Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee: Chair: Steve Abbott. Area County Recorders: Colin Jakes, Andrew Green, Scott Mayson. Bird Report Editor: Nick Mason (non-voting). Secretary: Craig Fulcher ( Other Committee Members: Steve Abbott, Derek Beamish, Richard Drew, Dave Fairhurst, Roger Walsh. BBRC correspondent: Dave Walsh (non-voting).

ADDRESSES Papers, notes, drawings and photographs: The Editor (Suffolk Birds), The Suffolk Naturalists' Society, c/o The Museum, High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH. Records: See inside front cover. Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee - correspondence: The Secretary, SORC, c/o The Museum, High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH.


Suffolk Birci Report


Editorial Nick Masรณn We all remember the severe winter weather at the beginning of 2010 and as spring approached our thoughts went out to those species that are, perhaps, less able to survive such conditions. Personally I was amazed to find singing Dartford Warblers on Lower Hollesley Common. They had survived because they were able to get into, and feed in, dense gorse. On Upper Hollesley Common the situation was not good - no birds being seen during most of the year, the result, presumably, of a lack of gorse. Overall from 40 pairs our Dartfords numbers here fell to just ten. In other parts of Suffolk, however, things were not as bad as had been feared with some small bird species maintaining good populations. How do they do it? Another cold spell at the end of the year had me fearing the worst again. The order of the species in this year's report has used the new British Ornithological Union list. It is worth going through here. Swans, ducks, game birds, divers, petrels, shearwaters, cormorant, bitterns, egrets, storks, grebes (used to follow divers), raptors, crakes, waders, skuas, gulls, terns and auks mostly remain the same. So do doves, cuckoos, owls, nightjar, swifts, kingfishers, Hoopoe and woodpeckers. The big changes are in the passerines, as follows: orioles, shrikes and corvids come next and then crests, tits, larks, martins and swallows. We then have Cetti's Warbler followed by Long-tailed Tit and then the rest of the warblers. Waxwing, Nuthatch and Treecreeper, Wren and starlings come next. Then it's Dipper, thrushes and Spotted Flycatcher followed by chats and wheatears before the other flycatchers and Dunnock. Sparrows are now followed by wagtails and pipits before we get to finches and buntings. At the start of the systematic list I have tried to make the order as clear as possible for those searching out individual species. Please remember when gently seething that these changes are based on good scientific evidence most of it genetic! As usual the writers who do the systematic list have done a fantastic job. Thankyou to all of them: Gi Grieco, Andrew Green, John Davies, John Grant, Chris Gregory, Mike Swindells and John Glazebrook, James Wright and Andrew Easton, Malcolm Wright, Phil Whittaker, Nathaniel Cant, Andrew Gregory, Derek Beamish, Steve Fryett, Paul Gowen and Peter Kennerley who writes the Appendices. Because of the changes in the order some of these writers have had to take on species or groups that they are not used to. The ringing report has again been compiled and written by Simรณn Evans. He has done another fantastic job piecing it all together and producing something of interest for ringers and non-ringers alike. As usual Philip Murphy has been incredibly diligent in checking my editing and has added countless historical facts and picked up inaccuracies where they have occurred. Thanks also go to Laurie Forsyth for his proof reading. I do not apologise for mentioning again that all of these people are volunteers. There are volunteers around the county doing all sorts of tasks from conservation work parties, working on surveys to sitting on committees. Well done to all of them! There have been some changes on the birding committees recently. Roy Marsh is now the chairman of SOG and Steve Abbott vice-chairman while Phil Whittaker is the secretary. The new SORC chairman is Steve Abbott and the secretary is Craig Fulcher. Yes - Justin Zantboer has stood down - thanks for all the effort Justin! There are five articles this year. Continuing our look at management and its effects on the birdlife of our important sites, Chris Hainsworth and Mike Taylor have written about Cavenham Heath and the ongoing conservation there. Two of the articles relate to new species for Suffolk. Adam Rowlands has written a more in-depth report on the Lesser


Suffolk Birci Report


Kestrel that turned up at Minsmere in March. Similarly Chris Darby writes about his finding of the King Eider and the plumage changes that it showed during its lengthy stay. The description of both of these birds, by their finders can be found in the rare birds section of this report, compiled by David Walsh, another volunteer. David Pearson reports on the first-ever breeding record of Marsh Warbler in the county. We also have another report from Richard Tomlinson and Graham Button on their nest-finding activities and research on the Sandlings heaths. Bill Baston has again coordinated the photographs and Phil Whittaker the artwork. As mentioned before we are keen to include artwork from as many contributors as possible so please submit any pieces that you consider suitable. Many photographs are submitted and we have to make choices about which we use. The choices are often difficult and are usually based on what is current and in the report. Thankyou to everybody who has submitted artwork and photographs, whether it is used or not. The Bird Atlas has now been completed and we await the results. Much of what cornes out of it we already know - we have Little Egret as a common species over much of the county for instance. There will be some changes in our avifauna, however, that may become a lot clearer when we see the whole coverage. What are the fortunes ofTurtle Dove andTree Sparrow? Just because the Atlas has finished should not mean that one stops sending in records, however. The conservation value of many records cannot be stressed enough. Some records may be important merely for their interest value. The three County Recorders, Colin Jakes, Andrew Green and Scott Mayson are listed at the front of the report with their contact dĂŠtails. The results of the Atlas will be published in some form, probably after the BTO have produced the country-wide version. Mick Wright has coordinated the Atlas work and has done a fantastic j o b - nearly every tetrad in the county has been counted and there are 1100 of them! Mick would like to thank everyone who has taken part in this massive survey. If that's you then give yourself a big pat on the back. I have had a good deal of feedback, ail positive, on my comments in last year's report on the subject of taking notes in the field or afterwards. The cover of that issue hopefully encouraged a few! Drawings do not have to be that good and, let's not forget, they are not necessarily for public viewing. Sometimes they may be important in obtaining acceptance of a record. Whatever else they do, they certainly help in improving ones birding. Several people mentioned photography and the fact that, although it might clinch the identification and acceptance of a rare bird, it is not the same as taking meaningful observations in a notebook.


Suffolk Birci Report


Review of the Year 2010 Nick Mason January Part of the cold spell, January witnessed freezing conditions and most of the month saw a covering of snow. Throughout the month there were Great Northern Divers and Slavonian Grebes in the county, two Black-necked Grebes on the Orwell and a Red-necked Grebe there as well. A Black-throated Diver was on Lake Lothing for much of the month. Throughout the month Woodcock were reported, often in gardens, as they searched suitable feeding spots. On 2nd a Glaucous Gull was at North Warren with other birds reported during the month. Also at North Warren, the White-front flock built up from 250 to 440 by 30th. Tundra Bean Geese, pale-bellied Brents and Bewick's Swans were also present especially in the southeast of the county. There were 75 Snow Buntings and a single Shore Lark on Kessingland Beach, while the 30 Corn Buntings and 20 Brambling at Stratton Hall linked in nicely for those visiting Levington for the grebes. There was a Rough-legged Buzzard in the Fritton area. On 29th 17 Water Pipits were counted on the practice green of Southwold Golf Course. Two Reeves' Pheasants at Ellough were probably bred locally! On 21st, five Smew arrived at Minsmere, the number building to nine, 30th. Some remained giving excellent views from West Hide during their stay. The bird of the month, however, was the Green-winged Teal at Minsmere between 2nd and 4th. February Many of January's birds remained into February. At the beginning of the month a Bittern and six Tundra Bean Geese were at Lackford. On 17th, there was a single Bean Goose at Lackford with 42 Pink-feet, this number rising to 57, 14th. There were 21 Tundra Beans and 47 Pink-feet at Trimley, 3rd. The first Goshawk was reported from The King's Forest, 6th. Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper along with Green Sandpiper, Greenshank and Spotted Redshank were present at Melton and in Martlesham Creek. The number of Purple Sandpipers at Ness Point, Lowestoft peaked at ten, 21st. The first Waxwing reported was at Knodishall, 8th with small numbers reported around the county all month. At Landguard there were eight Mediterranean Gulls, 21st. On 23rd a Great White Egret and a Spoonbill were recorded at North Warren with the Spoonbill seen at Hazlewood Marshes the next day. March On 2nd a Mealy Redpoll was found with Lesser Redpolls by Kirton Creek. Also on 2nd two Common Cranes drifted south over Benacre Broad. In the Brecks both Willow Tit and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker remained difficult to find at times. Between 7th and 14th there were three White Wagtails and at least one Firecrest at Kessingland SW. A flock of more than 50 Crossbills was present in the Hollesley area. On 13th a Spoonbill was at Minsmere. In Ipswich Docks, 14th, six first-winter Shags were still present. Also, 14th, two Great White Egrets were seen at Gedgrave and Orfordness. Penduline Tits were present at Minsmere from 16th, with three rising to four and eventually seven, 21 st, the highest-ever recorded in Britain.


Suffolk Birci Report


Alpine Swifts were present at Lakenheath Fen and Lowestoft, 23rd. Both Pallid and Alpine Swifts were present at Kessingland, 27th and 28th with a further Alpine at Minsmere, 28th. A Canvasback or hybrid, probably last year's bird, was present again at Cavenham Pits. A Black Brant was at Slaughden, 27th and 28th. Plenty of excitement was engendered with the appearance of a male Lesser Kestrel, the first-ever for Suffolk, at Minsmere between 28th and 31st. A Hooded Crow was found at Lowestoft, 28th. From the middle of the month summer migrants started appearing with several Wheatears and Black Redstarts to the fore. April Inward migration was noted throughout the month with several Ring Ouzels recorded. The first Reed and Grasshopper Warblers of the year were found, 7th. The Pallid Swift at Kessingland remained until 6th. Two male Garganey were present at Minsmere, 3rd, and a pair there, 16th. There were two male Garganey also at RSPB Boyton, 11th and the year's first Cuckoo there the same day. Caspian Gulls had been present throughout the year but the Polish-ringed secondcalendar-year bird was of note, at Minsmere, 6th. On the same day a Glaucous Gull, 35 Mediterranean Gulls and a single first-winter Little Gull were also at Minsmere. On 13th three Common Cranes flew over Flatford and Cattawade. A White Stork was seen over Bury St Edmunds and Lackford Lakes, 21 st. A drake Green-winged Teal was on Orfordness, 17th. A Hoopoe was at Cretingham, 17th. A Little Bunting was trapped and ringed at Lackford, 18th, Suffolk's first-ever spring record. An obliging Long-eared Owl was present in a garden in Rendham where the owners gallantly opened up their property for birders to visit. Alpine Swifts were seen at Trimley, 27th and Minsmere, 30th. A Pectoral Sandpiper was also at Trimley, 27th, the earliest-ever spring arrival in Suffolk. The first Golden Oriole of the year was heard at Lakenheath, 28th. May Migration continued throughout the month with Hoopoes, Red Kites and various waders including Temminck's Stint being recorded. A Savi's Warbler first heard at Minsmere, April 30th, was present until May 19th. There was also a Savi's Warbler on Orfordness, 1st, and another at Minsmere, 9th to 19th. Four Red-rumped Swallows were a treat at Loompit Lake between 2nd and 4th with one of the birds visiting Trimley Marshes, 4th. Another was at Trimley Marshes, 26th. After a Grey-headed Wagtail at Boyton, 3rd, both a Grey-headed and Blue-headed Wagtail were seen at East Lane, 23rd. A ringtail Montagu's Harrier was at Minsmere, 3rd to 14th. A male Dotterel was on Kessingland Beach, 17th to 19th. A Tawny Pipit was also at Kessingland, 20th. A Black Kite flew over Ipswich, 24th and a Purple Heron was at Minsmere, 25th until June 11th. On 20th, a summer-plumaged Red-necked Grebe was on the sea off Felixstowe. In Felixstowe, at Landguard, a Common Rosefinch was trapped and ringed, 25th. A Marsh Warbler was heard at Thorpeness, 25th with probably the same bird at Minsmere the next day. A first-summer Purple Heron was near the mouth of the Deben, 27th. The first Bee-eater of the year appeared at Walberswick, 30th.


Review of the Year 2010 A submission of a Booted Eagle seen on at least three occasions between May 13th and June 2010 in the Needham Market area was not accepted by BBRC. June There was another Bee-eater, or the same bird as at Walberswick, at Southwold, 1 st. Marsh Warblers were present at Minsmere, 2nd, and Long Melford, 5th to 8th. A notable breeding record was the Marsh Warbler at Reydon, the first-ever breeding record in Suffolk. In Woodbridge, 6th, a White-throated Sparrow, the third county record of this transatlantic vagrant, was in a private garden and seen very well by those who were lucky enough to get access. An off-season Puffin was off Minsmere, 9th. A ringed Roseate Tern was at Minsmere from 19th and another bird visited Trimley, 23rd. A female Ferruginous Duck found at Minsmere, 23rd stayed until August 13th. Quail were present at Great Waldingfield on 30th and July 1st. One was also heard at North Warren, 24th. Spoonbills were recorded throughout the month and two escaped Chilean Flamingos visited Minsmere. July Typically July was quiet. A Montagu's Harrier at Cavenham Heath was, perhaps the highlight. Waders were passing through during the month. The most interesting gull was a first-summer bird at Blythburgh which was a probable Baltic Gull (Larus fuscus fuscus). Towards the end of the month Wood Warblers were recorded at Theberton and Felixstowe. August More waders passed through during the month along with other typical migrants. Skuas, Little Gulls and terns were offshore. Single Honey Buzzards were at Loompit Lake, 4th and Minsmere, 28th. A juvenile Montagu's Harrier was also at Minsmere, 12th. Also at Loompit Lake, a Red-crested Pochard was present on a few days. Icterine Warblers were found at Minsmere, 17th and Shingle Street, 27th. Cory's Shearwaters were seen at Kessingland, 23rd and Southwold, 23rd and 24th. The dark-rumped petrel, 23rd, off Southwold, was not specifically identified! There was an Ortolan Bunting at Landguard, 28th. On 30th a Lapland Bunting was on the beach at Thorpeness, the earliest-ever autumn arrival in Suffolk, and a Wryneck in the dunes at Minsmere. September Movement, especially on the coast, continued through September. Several Long-tailed Skuas were recorded. Honey Buzzards were seen at Landguard, 1st, and Corton, 9th. A Rough-legged Buzzard passed over Minsmere, 30th. A Red-footed Falcon was seen at Dunwich Heath, Minsmere and Sizewell, 12th. Seven Barred Warblers were recorded; a well-watched bird at Felixstowe Ferry, 3rd to 6th; Beach Farm, Benacre, 5th; Kessingland, 7th; Minsmere, 7th to 11th; ringed on Orfordness, 7th; another bird ringed on Orfordness, 28th and Felixstowe Ferry again, 30th. The Greenish Warbler at Thorpeness, 6th and 7th, was well-watched and called regularly. An Icterine Warbler was at Landguard from 4th to 12th. Cory's Shearwaters were seen at several sites, 4th and a Balearic Shearwater flew past Landguard, 6th.


Suffolk Birci Report


Another, or the same, Lapland Bunting was at Minsmere, 9th with two there most of the month. Birds were also seen at Lowestoft, Covehithe, Shingle Street and East Lane with five there, 28th. Wrynecks were found at Benacre, Dunwich, Thorpeness, Minsmere and Southwold where three were present, 8th. The second bird to be a Suffolk first was first noted, 12th. This first-summer King Eider, initially seen drifting south off Kessingland was to remain until November 16th giving some excellent views and some appreciation of plumage changes. Three Garganey were at East Lane lagoons, 14th with at least one bird remaining for several days. There was also a juvenile Red-necked Grebe there from 19th until October 20th at least. There were up to five Garganey at Leathes Ham, 9th to 24th. A juvenile Spotted Crake stayed at Trimley Marshes from 18th until 24th and was another well-watched bird. Red-flanked Bluetails are becoming annual and 2010 was no exception with three birds recorded. One was at Corton, 28th, and another at Pakefield, 30th. The first Yellow-browed Warbler was at Thorpeness, 26th. October There was a lot of movement in October mostly of regular species. The month started with a Great Snipe at Covehithe, 1st, which, as usual, was only seen by its finders. Honey Buzzards were recorded, 2nd, at Lakenheath Fen and Minsmere. There was an influx of Rough-legged Buzzards from 11th with single birds seen at Minsmere, Bawdsey, Havergate, Orfordness, Southwold, Kirton and Wantisden and two birds at Potter's Bridge, 20th to 25th. A female Ferruginous Duck was at Lackford Lakes, 3rd to 18th and the same bird was at Lakenheath Fen, 25th. A Short-toed Lark was at Covehithe, 4th. Another probable Baltic Gull was at Southwold, 6th. A Red-necked Phalarope was at Minsmere, 8th, but did not stay. An Isabelline Wheatear, the fourth Suffolk record, was found at Gunton and then North Denes, Lowestoft, 10th, but was not present for a second day. On Orfordness, 10th, a Treecreeper of the race familiaris was recorded. A Pallas's Warbler was well-watched at Kessingland 11th to 14th. A second bird was at Sizewell, 17th and 18th. Another Barred Warbler was found at Burgh Castle, 17th. The only Red-breasted Flycatcher of the year was found at Corton, 11th. An Ortolan Bunting was at Landguard 13th. Two Northern Long-tailed Tits were at Southwold 17th to 19th. Between 17th and 24th another Red-flanked Bluetail was at Lowestoft. Two Sabine's Gulls were recorded the first, a juvenile, off Thorpeness, 16th and the second an adult, off Covehithe, 25th. Hooded Crows were found on the coast at Minsmere, 17th, Covehithe, 2 3 r d Dunwich, 25th and on Orfordness where a bird remained from 30th until February 2011. Glossy Ibises were seen on Dunwich Pools, 23rd and at Southwold 30th. The first-summer/second-winter King Eider was present between Dunwich and Thorpeness all month. November After a busy October, November was comparatively quiet. Waxwings started to arrive and the numbers of White-fronts, Little Auks, Shore Larks and Twite built up. The King Eider, now showing some adult male plumage was present until 16th. A Cattle Egret was at Baylham, 2nd and 3rd.


Review of the Year 2010

An American Kestrel at Landguard caused a bit of a stir, 3rd, until the ring was spotted - Dylan was returned to Stonham Barns later that day! A Richard's Pipit stayed for five days at Covehithe, 2nd to 6th. A Cory's Shearwater passed Slaughden, 7th. Other than those on the sea, an obliging Grey Phalarope was at Loompit Lake, 10th and another bird at North Warren, 20th and 21st. A Pallas's Warbler was at Gunton, 13th. Another Northern Long-tailed Tit was at Lowestoft, 13th. At North Warren a Goshawk was recorded, 14th. A Hawfinch was present at Landguard, 20th. Inland, a Lapland Bunting was found at Ixworth, 23rd. On 23rd a Smew was on the fishing lakes at Melton. The Hooded Crow found at Lakenheath Fen, 25th, remained until 30th. December A Green-winged Teal was on Orfordness, 5th and another at Minsmere, 28th to January 2nd. A Ferruginous Duck, of dubious origin, was back at Leathes Ham, 17th. This species has not been recorded in the Lowestoft area for 30 years. The second Little Bunting of the year was identified on 7th at Great Glemham. It was present for about four weeks and was the first mid-winter record in Suffolk since 1949. A Black Brant was on Shotley Marshes, 27th. Black-winged Stilt Peter Beeson A second Lapland Bunting was found inland at Long Melford, 31st. The weather turned and a second cold spell arrived in the middle of the month and the year finished with snow on the ground just as it had started.


Suffolk Birci Report


Lesser Kestrel at Minsmere - a n e w bird f o r S u f f o l k Adam


March 28th 2010 will definitely be remembered as one of my best days with British birds. I had taken the opportunity to venture north up the Suffolk coast from my home at Minsmere to enjoy the extremely rare opportunity to observe an Alpine Swift Apus melba and a Pallid Swift Apus pallidus hawking together over the village at Kessingland. After two enjoyable hours with these aerial masters I had returned home where we had invited Brian Small and his family to join us for the evening. At about four o'clock in the afternoon I took a call from Paul Green asking me if I knew anything about a Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni at Minsmere. Suffice to say I knew absolutely nothing, but was determined to find out. Before I had the opportunity to make further enquiries, I took a call from Brian asking the very same question - something was definitely happening! I called the Minsmere Visitor Centre and spoke to Bob Card who told me they had not heard anything, but he was then instantly informed by a visitor that the bird was at the overflow car parking area, opposite the Canopy Hide along the reserve entrance road. Armed with this information I set off on foot from the bungalow towards Whin Hill. In the short walk along the road all manner of scĂŠnarios played out in my mind. Would I arrive to find no sign of anyone or any bird resembling a falcon of any description? This scenario is not unprecedented in similar situations at the site. Would I arrive to find observers scrutinising a female Kestrel Falco tinnunculusl In which case what were the key ID features? Would it be possible to determine the all-important wing-tip structure on a Ione potential vagrant? As I approached the site it was clear that the bird was present from the crowd of birders trained intently through binoculars and 'scopes' at the gateway. I saw Scott Paterson and his beaming smile said it ali. His first communication, something along the lines of "Yes, it is one and it's a cracker", was enough to encourage me to get on to the bird quickly and there it was, perched on the telegraph wires running parallel with the road down the hill. I got a quick 'scopeful' to satisfy myself of the identification. Suffice to say it wasn't a challenging female or even a half-challenging first-summer male, it was a resplendent adult male, with delightfully clean orange-brown upperparts uninterrupted by any dark barring, a diagnostic band of pale blue extending across the tertials and the greater coverts. The equally delightful pale blue hood had no dark moustachial marks and the longer central tail feathers produced the diagnostic diamond shape to the tail tip, enhanced by the broad black sub-terminal band. I strained to see the white claws, but knew these were not essential in such a striking and distinctive plumage. See picture on page 41. The behaviour as the bird dropped shrike-like from the wires apparently targeting invertebrate prey before returning to its perch was also a teli-tale sign that this bird had almost certainly accompanied the swifts north from the Iberian plains on the recent southerly airstreams. A quick chat with Alan Davies, also brimming with understandable enthusiasm, confirmed that he had been alerted to the bird's presence after a day promoting optics in the Visitor Centre when a visitor walked in asking if someone could confirm that the bird they had photographed was indeed a Lesser Kestrel? Ali credit to Andy Cook and Julian Torino for the initial discovery and Andy for maintaining his composure to obtain a whole suite of images which enabled Alan to easily confirm that he was indeed correct before dashing in the direction of the bird and alerting the nation's birders to its presence. DĂźring further observations the bird took a few brief sallies out over the canopy of the woodland east of Scott's Hall, when it was lost from view and left the assembled crowd and ever-growing army of new arrivais somewhat anxious that it would not return. These initial sallies were relatively short-lived and anxiety levels remained low, but then the bird did its


Lesser Kestrel at


vanishing act above the canopy one more time and this time it did not return. The arriving hordes were left staring longingly at the empty telegraph wires and the posts demarcating the overflow parking area where the bird had first been found and photographed. This led to a sense of panic and as the crowds rapidly expanded, folk spread far and wide searching the extensive acid grassland areas north and west on the reserve in an attempt to relocate the bird. One of the arrivals was Brian, who leapt from his car and adopted headlesschicken mode in pursuit of the lost falcon as his wife and son continued on to our bungalow. In his haste, he had forgotten his binoculars, so I selflessly lent him my own. As he disappeared in bounding form towards the crest of Saunders Hill to command a pinnacle view of the landscape, 1 became aware of a commotion around me and picked up a large swift with a rowing flight action moving across the Sandlings landscape en route to Island Mere. My experience earlier in the day allowed me to identify it as an Alpine Swift with some confidence, even in the absence of optical equipment, but a stroke of good fortune enabled me to get my 'scope on it as it powered away, confirming the large white belly patch and pale brown upperparts that cemented the identification. This would be a good bird at Minsmere in any circumstances, but was just the icing on the cake on a truly memorable day. A haul of two Alpine Swifts, one Pallid Swift and a Lesser Kestrel in Britain in late March - this was surely the stuff of which dreams are made. Our search of this area west of Scott's Hall proved futile and the atmosphere was somewhat tense with my elation dampened somewhat by Brian's disappointment. However, it was not too long before the call went out that the bird had been relocated on the extensive acid grasslands south of Westleton Heath - Brian was finally able to connect and we were all able to celebrate a tremendous occasion. The bird continued to show, somewhat distantly, at this location for the following three days and I was able to enjoy reasonable views of it again in squally showers and strong winds on March 31 st. After observing it hovering and hunting from fence posts, I located it cowering under a gorse bush, trying to avoid the worst of the adverse weather conditions. Here it looked as if it was genuinely suffering and there were no documented sightings after this date, despite a number of subsequent reports. I returned to the gorse bush a few days later, hoping that I would not encounter an emaciated corpse lying beneath it. Fortunately there was no sign of the bird, but I did find a couple of pellets that it had regurgitated whilst perched forlornly beneath the shelter of the bush. The carapaces of ground beetles clearly shining within the pellets indicated what the bird had been finding to feed upon during its hunting forays on the short turf of the extensive Minsmere grasslands. The habitat choice was perfect for a species that typically inhabits, and breeds in, steppe and semi-desert habitats from the Iberian peninsula eastwards across continental Europe, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan east to Mongolia and NW China. The Minsmere bird represents the seventeenth record for Britain, nine of which occurred pre-1950. It is the earliest date of the post-1950 records and the first bird to linger for more than a day on mainland Britain since one at Rainham Marshes, Essex, in 1974. The species has suffered significant historical population declines in Europe, but these have recently been reversed through targeted conservation action in Spain and France. The species is a colonial nester, requiring plentiful suitable nest holes and abundant, largely insect prey. The provision of nest boxes in suitable habitat in the Spanish steppes has proved very effective in restoring populations. So, for a short period, the short-turf grasslands at Minsmere had become a northern outpost of the Iberian steppes. Who knows when they will be attracted here again? And what next? A hot summer day and the iridescent lilacs ultramarine of a Roller Coradas garrulus would suit me just fine, but you can't be too greedy!


Suffolk Birci Report


First-winter male King Eider at Kessingland Chris


At 7:30 on Sunday 12th September 2010 I was returning from Benacre pits after an unsuccessful search for warblers in the bushes. About 50 métrés north of Kessingland sluice and about 50 métrés out to sea, 1 noticed a dark duck which had its head down sleeping as it drifted south on the tide. Through binoculars (I was not carrying a telescope) and against the morning light, it appeared to be an eider. Given that it was alone and that it was early for eiders to be in the area, 1 joked to myself that it could be the King Eider that had been seen in Norfolk in August and had then disappeared. The duck was being carried out to sea by the currents around the sluice and so I walked as close as I could to take some pictures before it drifted too far away. Luckily a Blackheaded Gull flew down and disturbed the eider which looked up and stretched then went back to sleep. The views that I had during this interaction raised some concerns; the forehead was rounded not sloping, I could see a lighter patch on the top of the bill, raised feathers on its back and there was a white line along its flanks/wings. The bird drifted to the south of the sluice and by the time I had managed to walk back around, it was several hundred métrés out, disappearing south and asleep again. Looking into the sunlight I could not see any more features and, although I was reasonably confident of the species, I had not studied the books on the ID and, therefore, decided to return home and enlarge the pictures on a computer before creating a false alarm. At home after a review of the photographs and my books I was convinced that it was a King Eider. Thankfully Andrew Easton and Rob Wilton were near to home and could access e-mails; they supported the identification and put the message out on BINS. There was then a long wait before the eider was re-found at Minsmere at 16:00 (12 miles in 8 hours) and, after better views, it was confirmed from plumage similarities that it was the sub-adult maie that had passed through Yorkshire and Norfolk. Description Based on my observations and photographs (on BINS website) taken at Kessingland: ( 1 ) A dark eider with a tail that protruded beyond the body - indicating an immature for both species. (2) Developing "sails" on either side of the back - indicating immature male King Eider. (3) A white "line" along the flanks; whether this was on the wings or a light patch on the flanks under the wings could not be determined at the distance observed or from the initial photographs. However, King Eider does have a white stripe from the breast along the sides of the body that forms when the wing coverts are folded. (4) A small head which was rounded with a peak in front of the eye. It did not have the sloping forehead continuing behind the eye which is characteristic of eider. (5) A bill with a concave upper surface with a distinct light patch at the base on the upper mandible - both features of immature King Eider. The excellent photographs taken by Jon Evans at Minsmere on the same day (on BINS website and opposite page 40), highlighted more of the features of an immature male King Eider: (6) A pale breast compared to the rest of the body. (7) Yellow coloration of the basai bill patch. (8) Head feathering extending onto the bill which is rounded, not triangular in shape. (9) A white surround to the eye, leading into an eye line. (10) The beginnings of the dark feathering on the back Distribution King eiders have a largely circumpolar breeding range with the nearest breeding



male King Eider at


populations to the UK in Russia, Svalbard and Greenland - a small proportion of the total range. The European breeding population is considered relatively small but stable at c.40000 pairs. Migration patterns are not well known but it is thought that some breeders from north Russia, Spitsbergen and Novaya Zemlya overwinter in Arctic Norway, from where small numbers move down the Norwegian coast and enter the North Sea.

Photographs 1 and 2, Chris Darby, Kessingland, 12th September 2010

Photographs 3 and 4, Jon Evans, Minsmere, 12th September 2010

Photographs 5 and 6, Jon Evans, Minsmere, November 2010 Status King eiders were added to the British list in 1832. The species is now an annual with around 500 records to date; the majority in Northern Scotland and Shetland areas. Previously Suffolk has had three historic shooting records (1827 at Aldeburgh, 1846 at Lowestoft, 1854 at Lowestoft) but these are no longer accepted. Consequently this bird becomes the first-ever Suffolk record.


Suffolk Birci Report


This same bird had been well observed off the east coast in the summer. It had previously been seen at Filey on the Yorkshire coast from early July and then, in early August, it was off Sheringham and Winterton, Norfolk. There was obviously spĂŠculation as to whether it would keep Coming. Normally birds off North Norfolk, where the coast runs west - east, do not make their way down to Suffolk but once the eider had turned the corner, so to speak, and come a little south off Norfolk there was a general feeling that it might happen. And so it did. The bird stayed from September I2th until November 16th during which time interesting plumage changes occurred as described below. Plumage development in Suffolk During the first autumn immature maies are dull brown with paler edges to the feathers; the bill is flesh coloured. By the time this individuai had reached Suffolk adult plumage dĂŠtails were becoming evident; the sails had developed, the scapulars had turned black and the breast had begun to turn white. The development continued during its stay from September to November (as shown by Jon Evans later photographs, on BINS website and opposite page 40). The breast became paler with a white on the throat and head, the bill became paler orange on the inner-upper part below where the shield will develop. The back, scapulars, sides and tail became blacker; dusky white appeared in the ehest and white on the sides of the rump.


Suffolk Birci Report


First Suffolk breeding record of the Marsh Warbler David


Sirice the first report of a Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris in Suffolk in 1986 (Lancaster, 1987) singing birds in late spring have been reported almost annually in the eounty. Most records have been coastal but some have come from inland sites in central and west Suffolk. A few birds have stayed for three or four weeks, notably at: Trimley Marshes, June 4th to 28th 1997; Coddenham, May 30th to June 13th 1999; Reydon, June 8th to 30th 2000 and Carlton Marshes, June 5th to 29th 2004 (Suffolk Bird Reports). Such records suggest a possibility of breeding, and in the last two cases the presence of a female bird was suspected. On June 17th 2009 a bird was trapped at Kessingland showing a brood patch. Thus a record of proved breeding at Pottersbridge Marshes, Reydon, in 2010 should corne as no surprise. On the morning of June 15th 1 heard a snatch of Marsh Warbler song from a thicket of bramble and gorse amongst reed, nettle and thistle on the dry edge of a reed-bed. I next heard brief and quiet song bursts early on June 21st, and had close views of the singer perched among the reed tops. Tony Howe and I heard occasionai song next evening (22nd) from a bird glimpsed 3m high in an adjacent hawthorn hedge, and suspected that a second individuai was present. This was confirmed on the evening of 24th when Peter and James Kennerley and I watched one bird pursuing another low through the reed and nettle with the presumed female wing-shivering to the male. Both birds showed interest in a small willow bush growing amongst the low cover, and returaed regularly to this spot. On visits over the next ten days, occasionai short (2-3 seconds) snatches of song were given by the male which moved between favourite spots in the hawthorn hedge, the adjacent reed and nettle and the willow bush, but the female was not seen. On July 5th Brian Small observed both birds, and noted flights with food from the hedge to low cover near the willow bush. Similar activity, often involving two birds, was then seen regularly over the next week, but song snatches had become briefer and more infrequent. On July 12th increased activity was noted in the reeds by the willow bush; next morning both adults were regularly flying back and forth and were seen to be feeding at least three recently-fledged short-tailed juveniles. One of the adults was photographed by James Kennerley as it fed a fledgling among the reed stems. The young birds were occasionally seen together during the following week, and up to three could typically be heard churring low in the hedge. The adults continued to make apparent food flights, their presence often revealed by "tac" cali notes, and infrequent song snatches were heard as late as July 20th. The last sighting was on July 28th when two juveniles gave excellent views in the hedge and one of the adults was stili present. 1 had passed the breeding site more than once during morning bird surveys in late May and early June, and it is surprising that I had not heard full Marsh Warbler song before detecting the male in mid-June. It is tempting to speculate that this pair of birds had arrived late and perhaps together. For much of the 20th century the Marsh Warbler maintained a small breeding population centred on Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, which was considered to have reached well over 100 pairs prior to 1960 (Kelsey et al, 1989). Birds bred more erratically in other Midland and southern counties but not in East Anglia. The main range contraeteci, and by the 1970s Worcestershire with some 50-80 pairs provided the last remaining stronghold. Numbers collapsed here during the 1980s to less than ten pairs, but a new population was then building up in southeastern England, centred on Kent. By 1993, this numbered over 50 confirmed and possible pairs (Ogilvie et al, 1996) and records from elsewhere, including singing maies north to Scotland, suggested a breeding expansion. But this recovery proved short-lived and just ten years later the Marsh Warbler had become a rare British breeding


Suffolk Birci Report


bird. In 2002 there were no confirmed breeding reports for the second time in three seasons (Ogilvie et al, 2004). Over the last decade the population has been restricted to a handful of potential sites and five or fewer confirmed pairs each year. Recent sites have been wellscattered, from Sussex and Kent north to Yorkshire and Shetland. Breeding was proved in Norfolk in 1999 and 2009 (Norfolk Bird Report 1999, Holling et al. 2011), but is still very rare in East Anglia. References: Holling, M., and the Rare Breeding Birds Panel. 2011. Rare breeding birds in the United Kingdom in 2009. Brit. Birds 104: 476-537. Kelsey, M.G., Green, G.H., Garnett, M.C. & Hayman, P.V. 1989. Marsh Warblers in Britain. Brit. Birds 82: 239-256. Lancaster, A.A.K. 1987. Marsh W a r b l e r - 'first' for Suffolk. Suffolk Birds 36: 64. Ogilvie, M., and the Rare Breeding Birds Panel. 1996. Rare breeding birds in the United Kingdom in 1993. Brit. Birds 89: 61-91. Ogilvie, M., and the Rare Breeding Birds Panel. 2004. Rare breeding birds in the United Kingdom in 2002. Brit. Birds 97: 492-536.


Suffolk Birci Report


Cavenham Heath National Nature Reserve Chris Hainsworth and Mike Taylor Cavenham Heath is well known in the west Suffolk area for its large expansive heath, wild feel and exceptional wildlife. It is located between Bury St Edmunds and Mildenhall and best accessed from the village of Tuddenham. Most birders visit to see the Stone-curlew and look from the reserve onto the adjacent flooded gravel workings which contain a variety of wetland species. The following account covers the wildlife of the site and its management. Cavenham Heath is managed directly by Natural England as a National Nature Reserve. NNRs were established to protect sensitive features and to provide 'outdoor laboratories' for research. There are currently 222 NNRs in England (and one Marine Nature Reserve, Lundy) with a total area of over 92,000 hectares (0.6% of the country). Cavenham Heath is an NNR because of its nationally and internationally important plant communities, rare birds and rare invertebrates. European protection of the heath and grassland communities is afforded by the Breckland Special Area of Conservation (SAC). We have recorded over 280 plant species on the N N R with highlights such as Mossy Stonecrop, Annual Knawel (UK BAP species), Smooth Cat's-ear, Hound's-tongue, Shepherd's Cress, Hoary Cinquefoil and Suffocated Clover. The site also supports over a hundred species of bryophyte (including several Sphagnum species) and is important for lichens. The majority of the site is light, sandy, acidic grassland and heath. There are also large floodplain meadows where the site borders the river Lark, wet scrub and silver birch woods. The acid grassland is generally dominated by Red and Sheep's Fescue, with associated forbs like Heath Bedstraw, Harebell and Common Centaury. There are patches dominated by heather and, unlike coastal sites, there is only one species - Common Heather or Ling (Calluna vulgaris). The flood plain meadows in the lowest areas still support tall fen in which Common Reed and Sweet-grass species are dominant. However, there are large areas that are not that interesting due to them drying out since the river was embanked in the 1950s. To improve these areas in 2009, in conjunction with the Environment Agency, we added side weirs to allow winter flood water to spill behind the river embankment into the meadows. The overall aim is to restore a more natural function to the riverside meadows and hopefully prevent areas of alder carr and fen meadows from being lost. In the winter of 2010/11 the weirs did their job and winter flood water spilled on to the floodplain. This created a large expanse of shallow open water. Black-headed Gull, CaĂąada, Greylag, Shelduck and Lapwing took advantage of these spectacular conditions. The grassland areas are managed by our flock of welsh mountain sheep and cattle from a local farm. One of the main grazing tools is a huge population of rabbits on the heath, their tight grazing and ground disturbance producing ideal nesting habitat for Stone-curlews, invertebrates and annual plants. Woodland occupies considerable areas, most of which arĂłse naturally by invading grassland or heath. The two most widespread types are dry woodland on ex-heath dominated by Silver Birch and damp to wet woodland which is dominated by Downy Birch, Alder and willow. Scrub encroachment is not a real issue on the site due to the high grazing pressure. Cavenham's main avian importance is for the European priority species Stone-curlew, Woodlark and Nightjar. The site is part of the Breckland Special Protection Area (SPA) for these species. Up to four pairs of Stone-curlew nest annually, returning to the site in midMarch. The table below summarises the breeding results since 2000. As can be seen fledging rates tend to be rather poor. Around 50% of the eggs laid eventually hatch, but of these only about 16% of the chicks go on to fledge successfully.


Su ff Olk Bird Report


Foxes are thought to be the most significant predators of eggs and young, but corvids have also been suspected and once or twice human egg-collectors may have been responsible for losses. Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

pairs 2 3 0 1 2 3 2 1 3 3-4 2-4

nest a t t e m p t s 2 3 0 1 3 4 2 1 4 5 4-5

eggs 4 6

hatched 0 2?

fledged 0 0

2 5-6 8 4 2 8 10 8-10

2 2+ 8 0 0 8 6 2-4

1 1 0

2 0 1

From early July a pre-migratory roost builds up on the reserve, with the resident birds being joined by birds that have bred elsewhere. The roost tends to reach peak numbers between mid-August and mid-September and in the last three years there have been consistently high numbers of birds, with 105 in September 2008. Excellent views of the roost can often be had from the main track at this time. Stone-curlew pre-migratory roost maximum counts:Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

Maximum count 49 28 28 30 47 38 60+ 42 105 70 94

Date Sept 27 Sept 2 Late July Oct 2 Sept 17 Sept 21 Mid August Aug 25 Sept 10 Aug 16 Sept 18

Nightjar and Woodlark numbers have stayed relatively stable over the last decade. One or two churring Nightjars are usuai each year, favouring the heather heath with scattered birch on the south side of the main track. Woodlark are more widespread around the reserve, with usually 5-6 territories. Although not specifically monitored, breeding success seems to be generally good, with frequent sightings of family groups in late summer. The variety of habitats on the reserve has led to a very diverse bird fauna. There are good populations of the commoner woodland birds, although in line with national trends a couple of species, Willow Tit and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, no longer breed. Woodcock continue to thrive in the damper areas and there are usually between six and ten roding birds. On the open heath Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit and Stonechat can usually be found in small numbers, although the latter two species have both become scarcer in the last couple of years. In 2000 there were around four pairs of Northern Wheatear breeding at Cavenham, but in line with the situation in the rest of Breckland numbers dropped sharply with the last breeding attempt being in 2004. There are stili good numbers on passage, particularly in the



Heath National Nature


spring, and in 2010 a male held territory for a couple of months, though failed to attract a mate. Lapwing and Eurasian Curlew attempt to breed most years. Ring Ouzel occurs almost annually on passage in small numbers and Great Grey Shrike can sometimes be encountered in the winter months. Cavenham can be an excellent place for raptors. Apart from Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard (often seen in double figures) and Hobby, which ail breed on or near the reserve, a number of other species have been recorded in recent years: Merlin, Osprey, Rough-legged Buzzard and Marsh, Hen and Montagu's Harriers. In addition there was an interesting sériés of Honey Buzzard sightings in August 2007, involving a possible family group. The river and fen habitats attract Reed, Sedge and Grasshopper Warblers in summer and there is usually a number of singing Nightingales. The BTO survey in 2000 revealed seven Nightingale territories on or adjacent to the reserve. There is some indication of a decline in recent years. Kingfishers are often seen along the river and a pair of Grey Wagtails regularly nests in the Temple Bridge area. The river Lark obviously acts as a migration corridor for many species, and occasionally the unusual turns up. White Stork, Common Crâne, Glossy Ibis and Hoopoe have ali been seen in the area in recent years. Although not on the reserve, the adjacent flooded gravel pit is viewable from the wetland trail and adds considerably to the bird interest of the site. There is a good selection of the more common waterfowl that breed, including Gadwall, Little and Great Crested Grebes and Green Sandpiper are regulär in small numbers. Depending on the water level there are sometimes Little Ringed Plovers around the margins and there has been a reasonable list of passage waders over the years, including Whimbrel, Greenshank and Black and Bar-tailed Godwits. Black Terns are occasionally seen in May on passage and in the winter large numbers of gulls often gather towards dusk, sometimes to roost, or more often as a pre-roost gathering before heading off to Lackford. Large gatherings of gulls often produce the odd unusual species: Ring-billed, Iceland, Yellow-legged and Mediterranean Gulls have all been recorded in the last few years. Water Vole and Otter have been recorded on the river. In 2010 we fenced the river bank to allow greater control over the amount of grazing and hopefully increase the habitat for Water Vole. Harvest Mice nest in the tali fen végétation and the nests have been found when doing autumn mowing. Six species of bat have been recorded: Common and Soprano Pipistrelle. Daubenton's, Noctule, Brown long-eared Bat and Natterer's. Two World War 2 pill-boxes have been converted into bat hibernacula, and so far these have been used as winter roosts. In 2010 we piled the slubbings from a pond restoration project on top of a pili box to try and make it damper. The pillbox now looks like a Teletubby house but hopefully it will become a 'des res' for bats. Common toads can be seen near the river in spring and there are healthy populations of Common Lizard, Grass Snake and Adder. Adders often hibernate communally in traditional sites, and a number of these hibernacula have been identified around the reserve. Natural England have been carrying out emergence counts at these hibernation sites for a number of years, and these have shown that numbers are relatively stable. The reserve is also rieh in invertebrate life, with the best studied groups being the butterflies and moths. In 2002 we started carrying out a regulär butterfly transect, with data being submitted to the national Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. Overall, butterfly numbers have shown an upward trend over this period, with the notable exception of 2010, which was a poor year for most species apart from Orange Tip and Green Hairstreak. Cavenham butterfly transect totals The two commonest butterflies throughout the year are Small Heath and Small Copper, whose larvae feed on fine grasses and Sheep's Sorrel respectively. Both are multi-brooded


Suffolk Birci Report


and can be on the wing in varying numbers between late April and October. Brown Argus, Common Blue and three species of hairstreak (Green, Purple and White-letter) are recorded, but perhaps the most interesting species is the Grayling. More commonly found on the coast, the Brecks is one of the few areas of the country with inland populations. At Cavenham the Grayling is found in small numbers on the heath in sunny open areas with bare ground, but has also been seen nectaring on burdock in the Tempie Bridge area. Over the last 10 years more than 360 species of moth have been recorded, including the Red Data Book Marbled Clover and Grey Carpet. The Grey Carpet is currently the focus of a Butterfly Conservation project to encourage bare ground crĂŠation in the Brecks - its larvae feed on Flixweed, an uncommon plant of disturbed ground, particularly arable margins as it is rather intolerant of grazing. Other notable moths have been recorded, including Lunar Yellow Underwing, Purple-bordered Gold and Cream-bordered Green Pea. The declining Forester moth can be found quite commonly too, often to be seen nectaring on Common Ragwort and thistle during July. Several Odonata species have been recorded, notably the Banded Demoiselle, which in some years can be very prolific along the river, and the Black-tailed Skimmer often found in Secret Fen at the end of the wetland trail. With its light sandy soils, the heath is important for a variety of solitary bees and wasps, and also has good populations of ground beetles and the Green Tiger Beetle. Over 100 species of spider have been recorded, with several heathland specialists, including the orb web weavers Neoscona adianta and Hyposinga albovittata which are both found on heather. The distinctive pyramidatus form of the orb web weaver Araneus marmoreus can be found in Secret Fen in late summer - its creamy yellow abdomen with a dark patch towards the tail end is unmistakeable. The reserve can be visited all year round.There are a number of trails that can be followed. A large part of the heath is closed from 1 st March until 31 st October annually to protect the breeding Stone-curlew. However, most of the closed area can be viewed with a scope. Please send any interesting records or observations to


Suffolk Birci Report


Records and observations of breeding birds in coastal Suffolk 2010 Richard Tomlinson and Graham


This is a report on our nest-finding activities on the Sandlings heaths during 2010. We do not cover Lower Hollesley Common as this is done by John Dries with Paul Newton and Mick Wright doing the ringing. We did, however, have access to the heathland parts of Rock Barracks, the old Woodbridge Airbase which is immediately next to Upper Hollesley Common. Parsnip Plantation, in Shottisham, is an area of heathland, owned by the Broxstead Estate but not a common. Woodlark LuUula arborea North winds during much of April and May delayed many of the Woodlarks' return to their nesting territories. This coupled with a dry spring, as in 2009, retarded new growth and insect food was in short supply. Our first two broods were found on April 11th, on Upper Hollesley Common, in thin bracken and were both very close to footpaths. On May 9th we found two more nests with young in crops of Barley - one to the side of Parsnip Heath the other on the eastern end of Sutton Common. All these first broods fledged young successfully. We had a nest at Blaxhall link with four eggs within the electric fenced area containing ponies. We are grateful to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust for moving the fence slightly to save the nest from the very real chance of it getting trampled. The brood of four was ringed at seven days on May 23rd. The most productive sites were Upper Hollesley and Sutton Common and Heath. A pair raised two broods at Rendlesham and the Tunstall/Blaxhall area had a few pairs. A total of 52 pulii were ringed from a total of 18 nests discovered. We ringed many more Woodlark in 2010 than in 2009 - this was as a result of our study area increasing, having taken on Upper Hollesley and also a good part of the inner compound of 'Rock Barracks'. This has increased our Woodlark numbers significantly. We found that numbers were down generally with many of the smaller or lesser territories not being used in 2010. Late arrivals into the middle of May resulted in a reduced number of breeding attempts. Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata Our birding year started on January 5th with a trip looking for surviving Dartford Warblers after the period of snow and hard weather that we had experienced. We had four on Lower Hollesley Common in gorse and we are certain that gorse cover is an important factor in harsh weather providing much needed food and thick cover that is not easily penetrated by snow. Unfortunately, a part of this was later cut in 2010, thankfully the northern majority remains. Through March we had other sightings of Dartford Warbler at most of our previous nesting areas, but numbers were much reduced. We think that at least 70% were lost during what was the harshest winter for thirty years. The weather through the winter of 2009/2010 was responsible for the demise of the majority of our breeding population of this quintessential heathland bird although it should be noted here that on Lower Hollesley Common, not part of our area, there were at least seven pairs. Although our sites had a very small nucleus of surviving birds breeding was much reduced. The only brood of three was colour-ringed on Blaxhall Heath on May 23rd. We had a male construct a cock nest on Sutton Heath but no other breeding was confirmed. Crossbill Loxia curvirostra From March 10th up until April 14th we had a flock of Crossbill on Upper Hollesley Common. Thirty-five was the largest number we saw. 20-30 were seen drinking regularly at


Suffolk Birci Report


the puddles in the centre of the common. There was no evidence of breeding but we are confident that when the cone crop is good for them it will happen. Small groups were also seen in Tunstall Forest, but once again there was no sign of breeding. Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos The Nightingale population around the Forests was a little lower that in 2009. Five nests were discovered within our Heath and Forest areas and two nests were found near Belstead, Ipswich. In all 16 pulii were ringed. Hobby Falco subbuteo At most of our previous sites Hobby were seen, but two of last year's nest territories were not used. We were able to locate three live nests and three young were ringed from two of these sites. At another nest near Tunstall Forest two young were out of the nest at the end of July. We were unable to get a climber again! But it was an awkward site the nest was very difficult to see and was in the crown of a Corsican Pine more than 70 foot tall. At our heathland site thanks are extended to Reg Woodard for the climb. At our farmland nest site, the pair used the same crow's nest as in the previous year. Two young were ringed on August 18th. Many thanks again to the landowner and his keeper for their co-operation. Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis A scattering of singing males were in the Sutton/Upper Hollesley areas, but despite all our best efforts none were proved breeding. A single bird was seen at Blaxhall on April 30th. Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus There are a few pairs of Redstart scattered rather widely around the Sutton and Upper Hollesley areas. We managed to locate five nests, two were accessible, one having been in a nest box erected by the SWT. Others were in natural holes and one in a wood pile. We ringed 11 pulii from the two available nests. Stonechat SaxĂ­cola torquatus The Stonechat population was noticeably lower than in the previous breeding season. The main cause was the severe winter. Most of the birds moved due to the conditions in the winter and many were late returning to their breeding sites. A lot of territories from 2009 were unoccupied in 2010. Blaxhall did not have any and Tunstall only had the one pair. Sutton and Upper Hollesley Commons held the highest numbers and 52 pulii were ringed from 16 nests. A total of 14 were from Sutton and Upper Hollesley Commons and two were from Tunstall Common. Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella Fairly reasonable numbers of Yellowhammers were scattered around most sites. Four nests were discovered including two at Sutton that were both unfortunately predated. A nest on Upper Hollesley and one on Blaxhall were our lot and four pulii were ringed. Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus We did not find any nests but we had six - seven singing males around Sutton. Our first sighting was of a male at the end of Woodbridge Airfield on May 3rd. Three to four other singing males were in the Tunstall Common area. Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava On the afternoon of June 7th, with Eric Patrick at the picnic site on Sutton Heath, we watched two pairs of Yellow Wagtails gathering food to feed young. They were flying off


Records and observations

of breeding birds in coastal Suffolk


across the road and into a very large field of Barley. 1 returned the following day with Graham and observed at least 8-10 pairs feeding young within the area of the field that we could survey. I got in touch with Guy Quilter of 'Sutton Hall Farms' and permission was granted. On June 9th I returned with Eric, we watched the field and saw the Yellow Wagtails drop food into an area close to a line the tractor had used. We marked the spot with a stick and began a careful search of the area. The nest was found containing five young at 8-9 days. I called Steve Abbott and he came out and we ringed the pulii. The nest was on the edge of the tractor tyre print in tight to the Barley roots. On the way back more Yellow Wagtails were mobbing us and carrying food. We moved back to let them in and two more nests were discovered both in similar sites on top of the tractor tyre print, both with five young at 6 -7 days. The sites chosen were in the best place for drainage and ease of access. The following day 1 returned to the field with Graham and two more nests were discovered in the same situations and nine more pulii were ringed, bringing the total to 24. Additional ringing, both around the Sandlings heaths and further afield, included the following:Sparrow Hawk Accipiter nisus Five young in a nest at Tangham, July 4th and a single young female at Sutton Heath, July 18th were ringed. Little Owl Athene noctua A brood of four young at Sutton Heath, May 26th and two young were discovered in a building inside the 'Rock Barracks' complex and ringed, June 15th. Tawny Owl Strix aluco A nest with two young was found in Tunstall Forest and they were ringed, May 16th. Jay Garrulus glandarius Two nests one with five young and another containing four were ringed in Spring Wood, Ipswich on May 25th and 29th. Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba Two broods were ringed - one in a building near Great Blakenham with four young, May 13th and another three young at Rock Barracks, June 15th. Mistle Thrush Tardus viscivorus Four young in a nest were ringed on Parsnip Heath, June 7th. Whitethroat Sylvia communis Three young from a nest were ringed at Blaxhall, June 11th. Two broods were ringed on Upper Hollesley Common, a nest with five young, June 11th and another with four young, June 15 th. Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla One at Blaxhall and another at Tunstall both reared broods of five which were ringed, June 1st and 6th respectively. Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita Three nests, each with six young, were ringed on Parsnip Heath, Tunstall and Millennium Wood, Ipswich on June 14th, 25th and 29th respectively.


Suffolk Birci Report


Swallow Hirundo rustica One brood of five was ringed at Rock Barracks, June 15th. Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea We had a pair at Bobbit's Lane Sewage Works on May 5th and ringed four young. It had another nest containing six eggs on June 28th; unfortunately this clutch was found deserted on our return, July 8th. We ringed a brood of five along the River Gipping, May 13th; a juvenile from this brood was killed by a cat near Colchester. A second brood at this site reared five young, but the young were too old to ring when found. Linnet Carduelis cannabina One brood on Sutton Common and one near Captain's Wood, Sudbourne, were ringed, May 12th and June 8th and contained four and five young respectively. Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus A brood of four was ringed near Baylham, July 6th. Treecreeper Certhia familiaris Three young were ringed at a nest site at Rendlesham, May 3rd. Other pulii ringed included five Dunnocks, nine Robins, one Song Thrush, one Willow Warbler, 22 Blue Tits, 21 Great Tits, two Carrion Crows, 11 Chaffinches and three Greenfinches. Additional sightings We located three Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix. All were singing males, the first at Blaxhall on April 28th, another was at Sutton, 300m down from the Bawdsey road picnic car park. May 6th and the third was again at Blaxhall, May 11th. On May 16th at Upper Hollesley we had a splendid dark-phase Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus. On March 28th at Tunstall Common, we flushed two Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus from Heather Calluna vulgaris. We had many sightings of Grass Snake Natrix matrix around Tunstall and some at Sutton - in 2009 we did not have any records! A few Adder Vipera berus were at most sites especially the Sutton Heath/Common areas. A Skylark Alauda arvensis nest containing three eggs was found in a meadow at Captain's Wood June 5th, but on our return on June 20th the clutch was deserted. A Corncrake Crex crex flew into the cottage wall of a property occupied by Peter Hinds o f ' S u t t o n Hall Farms' on the night of September 27th. He very kindly contacted me for its identity to be confirmed. The corpse was taken to Ipswich Museum. Acknowledgements Special thanks to all our ringers for getting out to us, often at very short notice to process our finds: Steve Abbott (Sutton), Mick Wright, Paul Newton, Dean Backhouse (Tunstall/ Blaxhall and Upper Hollesley). We also extend our thanks to Simon Leatherdale, Nigel Turner and other staff at the Forestry Commission and also to Suffolk Wildlife Trust for their help and cooperation. Additional thanks to Dave Mason, Nick Mason and Andrew Paul, keeper James Watchorn, Guy Quilter, keeper Peter Hinds and Duncan Sweeting (Anglian Water). Thanks also to the staff of the Greenways Project, Richard Young (GAPS) and Patrick Hughes-Reckitt of The Mill, Sproughton for their help through the year. Thanks also go to my daughter Amber Jones for assistance in the field and with the final composition of this report. And thanks also go to Steve Piotrowski.


Suffolk Birci Report


The 2010 Suffolk Bird Report Systematic List Introduction The list and its appendices have been written using data supplied by the county's birdwatchers and conservation organisations. The order has changed and follows the revised BOU list. The raw data have been collated and interpreted by the following:Swans and geese Gi Grieco Ducks Andrew Green Game birds, rails to Crâne John Davies Divers to Spoonbill Raptors

John Grant Chris Gregory

Oystercatcher to Ruff Snipes to phalaropes Skuas and gulls Terns to auks Pigeons to woodpeckers Shrikes, corvids, crests, tits Larks, hirundines

Mike Swindells John Glazebrook James Wright Andrew Easton Malcolm Wright Phil Whittaker Nathaniel Cant

Warblers, inc. Long-tailed Tit

Andrew Gregory

Waxwing, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Starling, Dipper, Wren, Thrushes

Derek Beamish

Spotted Fly, Robin, Chats, Wheatears, other Flycatchers, Dunnock

Steve Frvett

Sparrows, wagtails, pipits, finches, buntings

Paul Gowen


Peter Kennerlev

The 'officiai' British list is maintained by the British Ornithologists' Union (BOU). Species are included in various catégories according to their status, as follows: • Category A - species which have been recorded in an apparently natural state at least once since January Ist 1950; • Category B - species that would otherwise be in Category A but have not been recorded since December 3Ist 1949; • Category C - species that, although originally introduced by man, either deliberately or accidentally, have established self-sustaining breeding populations; • Category D - species that would otherwise appear in Catégories A or B except that there is doubt that they have ever occurred in a natural state; • Category E - species that have been recorded as introductions, transportées or escapees from captivity, and whose breeding populations are not thought to be self-sustaining. The main part of the species accounts consists of species that occurred in Suffolk in 2007, which fall into Catégories A and C. Where a species is included in multiple catégories, this is shown in the initial status summary. Catégories D and E do not form part of either the British or Suffolk lists. Species from these Catégories that occurred in Suffolk in 2007 are included as appendices to the main list. The order and nomenclature follow the latest published for The British List by the British Ornithologists' Union (BOU 2006). This list can be accessed on their web site at English names follow the same list. Subspecies are listed under the main species' heading, which includes the scientific name. The records for each species are listed mostly under the parish where the bird occurred, sometimes followed by a more precise location if known. The exception to this is at the river estuaries and larger, well-known sites criss-crossed by several parish boundaries e.g. Walberswick NNR, Minsmere, Orfordness, Alton Water etc. The gazetteer on page 157 gives locations for those sites not easily located on a standard road map. The order of records is north to south down the coastal région, working round the estuaries, then inland from the northeast to the southwest of the county. To minimise any


Su ff Olk Bird Report


Potential threats to site security, some records of rare breeding birds are published anonymously and under a vague site heading. As much use as possible is made of systematic monitoring schemes such as the WeBS counts. Using such co-ordinated data instead of maximum counts gives a better idea of the populations of each species wintering in the county on a given date. However, fluctuations in numbers due to changing weather patterns will affect totals and higher counts are given in the text after the table where appropriate. Counts from North Warren include Thorpeness Meare, Church Farm Marshes and the shoreline between Thorpeness and Aldeburgh; the Aide/Ore Estuary includes the complex of the Aide, Ore and Butley rivers as well as Orfordness, Gedgrave reservoir and Havergate Island; and the Orwell includes Trimley Marshes, Loompit Lake and Bourne Park Water Meadows. Counts from the Stour all refer solely to the Suffolk side of the estuary. The larger part of the report, particularly for the more common species, is based upon ad hoc records. Data of that type are intluenced by the distribution of birdwatchers, the weather and other factors that result in imperfections. We are nonetheless indebted to those observers who have persevered with other studies, such as Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), Constant Effort Sites (CES) and transect counts and for making the results available for use. A summary of the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is given for all those species for which meaningful data are available - further information can be found on the BTO website. See 'A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk' elsewhere in this Report for information on submission of records. The following définitions are intended as a guide to the relative status of each species: Very common: Occurs in large numbers in suitable habitat and season. Common: Occurs regularly or widely distributed in suitable habitat. Fairly common: Occurs in small numbers in suitable habitat and season. Uncommon: Occurs annually in small numbers. Scarce: One or two records each year or restricted to specific habitats. Rare: Occurs less than annually. Very rare: Less than 15 records in past 30 years. Accidentai: Less than three records in past 30 years. Included in the status description is a note if the species is included in either the Red or the Amber List of 'Birds of Conservation Concern '. This is a paper jointly produced by the leading bird conservation organisations in the UK. See Suffolk Bird Report Vol.47: 6-10 for further détails. The following abbreviations are sometimes used in the systematic list:— N bird(s) flying north ad = adult N N R = National Nature Reserve BBS = Breeding Bird Survey River = Constant Effort Site R CES res = reservoir CP = Country Park = Golf Course S bird(s) flying south GC SW = sewage works GP = gravel pit = immature W M = Water Meadow imm WP = Water Park Ind. Est. = industriai estate WR = Wildfowl Reserve juv = juvenile




MUTE SWAN Cygnus olor Common resident. Amber List. Categories A and C. Recorded widely around the county although there were few records from mid-Suffolk. Encouragingly there was a big increase in the number of young recorded with 105, compared with 74 in 2009, but with a similar number of breeding sites, 33, and total number of pairs, 53. The table below shows the highest counts at a selection of sites. In the north-east of the county notable herds included 70 at Shipmeadow, February 1 st, 40 at Outney Common, Bungay, April 8th, 178 at Flixton Gravel Pits, May 31st, which constitutes the largest herd in the county for the year, 108 at Barnby Marshes, October 17th and 65 at Castle Marshes, North Cove, December 27th. A lot of records for the species came from the south-east and in addition to those sites listed in the table are 20 at Trimley Marshes, April 15th, 25 at Kirton Creek, May 23rd, 28 at Hollesley Marsh, June 13th, 20 at Alton Water, September 12th and 43 at East Lane, Bawdsey, November 21 st. At Landguard Bird Observatory Mute Swans were encountered more frequently than in 2009 with the species being noted on 22 scattered dates during the year, the highest counts being of 20 up river, March 6th and 11 out in the same month, 23rd. A Mute Swan was found dead at Loompit Lake on March 18th with a ring, X3274; research shows that it had been ringed at Needham Market Lake on July 12th, 2007. In the west of the county the Peak monthly counts at selected sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec two main loca38 10 24 8 6 10 25 42 tions for the Minsmere 24 46 30 31 Wvsjjy 43 65 47 species, in addi- North W arren 14 4 38 10 3 9 7 13 tion to Laken- Orfordness J . Aide WeBS 37 125 72 66 100 85 heath (shown in 84 114 188 Deben WeBS 148 106 162 171 133 the table) were 14 Orwell Estuary WeBS 55 48 17 10 38 42 23 Sudbury ComWalton Marshes 35 57 51 2 72 92 35 25 mon Lands where Lakenheath Fen WeBS 102 85 162 88 17 31 19 99 were present, January 8th and 1 10, December 22nd and Redgrave Lake with 6, July 14th and 115, November 12th. TUNDRA (BEWICK'S) SWAN Cygnus columbianus bewickii Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. Minsmere was again the site most frequented by this species with regular sightings at the beginning of the year and a maximum of 24 on February 17th when 22 adults and two firstwinters flew over The Scrape - ten of them landed on the sea, four flew north and the remainder flew west. The site also had the final sighting of the first winter period with a single on The Scrape, April 1st. Sightings were made at a number of other sites in the area including Reydon Marshes, North Cove, Blythburgh, Shipmeadow, North Warren, Bradwell and Barsham Marshes. In March there were several sightings in the Waveney Valley with 131 over Breydon Water South Wall, 1 st and again on 12th. Nearby at Burgh Castle 80 flew over, 1 st with the same number flying east over Clarkson Road, Oulton Broad, 5th. Movement was again evident from the middle of the month when 45 flew east out to sea on 12th at Lowestoft and 17 flew north-east at Fisher Row, Oulton also on 12th. The following day 42 flew east at Bradwell, 34 were on the sea at Gunton early morning before heading south-east and 15 flew southeast at Sotterley. The largest count in the south-east came from the Deben in February when 45 were located on the WeBS count. Other records in the first winter period from the south-east include:Snape: Abbey Farm, six flew over, Jan 1st.


Suffolk Birci Report


Orfordness: three flew up river, Jan 8th. Butley Creek: four, Jan 17th on Aide WeBS count. Shingle Street: Jan 23rd; five, Feb 9th and 13th; four, Feb 14th; six, Feb 15th. Bawdsey: East Lane, six, Feb 3rd; 11, Feb 7th; Bawdsey Quay, nine, Febl3th; eight, Feb 17th. Hollesley Marshes: five, Feb 15th. Kirton Creek: nine, Jan 31th. Trimley Marshes: nine, Feb 13th. In the west there were two on the sailing lake at Lackford Lakes, January 17th and eight at Kenny Hill, Mildenhall, January 20th. Good numbers were present in the second winter period with Minsmere again having the bulk of the records from October 17th with a maximum of 208 on December 8th when flocks of six, 53, 62, 23 and 14 flew inland with a further 50 on Island Mere, with 73 of these birds also seen flying west over Westleton Heath. At Sizewell Beach, 21 flew in off the sea and headed north-west, November 10th and one in off at Kessingland, November 26th. At Toby's Walks, Blythburgh, 24 were present on December 7th, 20 on 12th, and 50 on cereal fields on 24th. Other records came from North Warren, Theberton, Boyton Marshes and Mutford, where ten flew north over Ash Farm, December 12th. At Landguard Bird Observatory nine flew in off on October 16th, three were on the River Deben at Waldringfield, November 10th and eight on the Deben WeBS count in December. A flock of 12 including three juveniles was at East Lane, Bawdsey, December 4th and 5th. Inland and in the west, 11 at Lakenheath on November 28th, matched the movement noted on the coast. In early December, four flew south-west at Fornham All Saints, 4th, while on 8th, 70+ flew west at Maids Cross Hill, Lakenheath and 73 flew west in flocks of 45 and 28 at Creeting St Mary, which could well have been those seen on the same day at Westleton. Twenty flew low west at Stowmarket, also on 8th. At Needham Market there were six on December 10th. On 14th, five flew over Lackford, there was a single bird at Sedge Fen, Lakenheath, 15th, 50 at Kenny Hill, 16th and finally three at Brettenham, 25th. W H O O P E R SWAN Cygnus cygnus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. Categories A and E. It was back to more usual numbers after the two large flocks seen last year. A single bird that was present at Dingle Marshes at the end of 2009 was still there on January 1 st and 2nd and again from January 23rd to February 2nd. This bird regularly visited Island Mere, Minsmere on a number of dates up to March 23rd. On the January 17th Deben Estuary WeBS count a single bird was noted, which is likely to have been the immature present at Hemley, January 31st, nearby Kirton Creek, February 6th and Loompit Lake the following day. A first-winter flew north along the coast at Gorleston, February 15th and was seen to land in Great Yarmouth outer harbour. On March 13th eight flew north at Thorpeness. A late bird was at Lakenheath Fen RSPB on April 10th and 17th. In the second half of the year there was an influx in October with three on Wilson's Flood, Lackford Lakes and 17 at Lakenheath Fen both on 20th. The next day five arrived at Minsmere including a first-winter, which were seen again on 25th, while on the same day 13 flew north at North Warren. There was a further influx in November when two flew south at Thorpeness, 8th, while on 17th two flew south past Southwold. An adult which flew north at Landguard, November 24th constitutes the site's eighth record. Inland in November ten flew west at El veden, 10th, a single flew east at Ampton, 21st, two flew south-west at Creeting St. Mary, 28th while on the same day nine flew west along the Lark valley at Lackford Lakes. There was more movement on December 15th when three flew north-west at 3.05pm at Lake Lothing and one flew in off the sea at Minsmere. At the end of the year wintering birds present included three on Island Mere, December 22nd including a first-winter that was present again the following day and two at Boyton Marshes, December 26th increasing to four on 30th.




BEAN G O O S E Anserfabatis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. Categories A and E. Eleven at Kirton Creek, January 30th may well have moved to Trimley Marshes where 21, a noteworthy gathering for Suffolk, were present, February 3rd - up to 19 were regularly seen at this site until February 20th. On February 10th there were four at Gedgrave Marshes which moved on to Havergate Island the next day and to Sudbourne Marshes on 23rd. At Oulton Broad one was with Greylag Geese on January 23rd and 24th with the mixed flock seen again at Benacre Broad from February 14th to 17th. Across the county at Lackford Lakes SWT there were six on January 30th and February 1st with nine on 14th on the Slough. There was one with the Pink-footed Goose flock which fed by the Lackford to Cavenham road on February 14th, before moving to Bunkers Barn, Cavenham on February 19th and later roosting on the Slough at Lackford Lakes. At the end of the year a double-figure count was also made, with initially two at North Warren on November 20th, but during December at this site the number rose to 12 from 22nd to 27th with 11 on 28th which flew south-west. Further sightings were as follows:Carlton Marshes: Sep 20th, flew over with 36 Pink-footed Geese at 8.45am. Minsmere: flew north, Dec 28th. North Warren: Jan 27th. Aldeburgh Marshes: Jan 3rd. Boyton Marshes: two, Jan 23rd; four flew south, Dec 31st. Lakenheath Fen RSPB: Nov 26th. P I N K - F O O T E D G O O S E A user brachyrhynchus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. Categories A and E. Again there was a reduction in the large flocks compared with the last few years. Numbers this year reached a maximum of 2000 in each winter period. The north-east was the principal area for this species, as usual, although small but reasonably-sized flocks were noted in the south-east and the west. Recorded at a number of sites, again often of birds in flight; a selection includes:Brevdon South Wall: 1000 on marshes, Dec 27th. Gorleston: five south, Dec 20th. BradweU: 100 north, Gapton Marshes, Jan 30th. Fritton: Waveney Forest, 60 north in several flocks, Jan 17th; 250 north-east at dusk, Dec 28th. St. Olaves: 50 flew over the bridge, Sep 29th; 800 south-east towards Somerleyton at 7.10am and returned at 6.30pm, Oct 10th; 1200 south-east toward Somerleyton at 7.10am, Oct 11th. Ashby: 30 north, Feb 7th. Blundeston Marshes: 2000 north, Nov 14th; 400 north-east, Dec 21st. Corton: 63 north, Dec 22nd. Gunton: 50 south at noon and 50 south-west at 12.45pm, Jan 18th. Lowestoft: ten over the lighthouse, Sep 23rd; 70 in off the sea heading WSW over the harbour, 11.45am, Dec 5th; 100 north over St. Margaret's Church at 8am, Dec 6th; one walking along the Hamilton Dock wall, Dec 12th. Oulton Marshes: 100, Jan 1st; 2000 over, Feb 9th; 200 over, Dec 12th. Lake Lothing: 19 north-west, Jan 30th. Flixton: 2000 circling over marshes, Jan 31 st; in September, 46 west, 16th and 22nd and north-west on 23rd; 500 west, Oct 12th; 53 north, Oct 14th; 200 north, Nov 3rd; 75 north, Dec 5th; 25 north-east and 75 west, Dec 7th. Carlton Marshes: 500, Jan 30th and 31st; 36 over, 8.45am, Sep 20th; 70 over, Oct 7th. Carlton Colville: Peto's Marsh, 700, Oct 17th. Kessingland: 80 north in two flocks, Jan 30th; 47 north, Jan 31st. Small numbers were to be found in the first winter period in the central section of the Suffolk coast with up to ten at Reydon and Southwold Town Marshes until February 14th and nearby there were nine at Hen Reedbeds on February 9th. On February 7th, three were


Suffolk Birci Report


on Minsmere Levels while further down the coast at North Warren, 22 were present on January 26th rising to 46 on the South Marsh on March 11th, including one bird which was noted to have orange legs. At Slaughden there were 22 on January 26th. Along the same section between the Blyth and the Aide in the second winter period, single-figure counts were made with six early arrivals on Minsmere Levels from September 8th, four flew south at Thorpeness on September 15th and at North Warren they were recorded regularly from October to the end of the year reaching a maximum of five on December 16th. On the Aide WeBS count there were three on November 11 th and 17 on December 19th. On Orfordness, one was with Greylags on the Airfields on January 1st and one again with the geese flock on April 2nd, while in November three were seen on 14th, again with Greylag Geese. Regular sightings on the Deben Estuary included 22 at Falkenham Marshes, January 24th with 30 nearby at Kirton Creek, January 30th. On the Orwell Estuary at Trimley Marshes, 47 on February 3rd increased to a maximum of 51 up to February 25th with the last sighting of a single bird on April 17th. An orange-legged individual was noted on two occasions and may be the same one seen at North Warren in the first winter period. A single individual was at the site later in the year on December 12th and 17th. At Landguard Bird Observatory one was reported flying out of the river then north, October 19th, two north the following day and 12 south, November 7th. On Alton Water, two birds, probably escapees, were present from January to April. In the west at Lackford Lakes a flock of 26, February 7th, increased to 57 on 14th and included two with neck collars that had been marked in Denmark in 2005. This flock fed at Bunkers Barn, Cavenham and was also present at that site on 19th before later roosting on the Slough at Lackford. At Mickle Mere ten were present on February 21st, with 12 birds present from 24th and finally nine still there, March 2nd. One feral bird present, at various sites in the west in 2009, was again seen at Mickle Mere on January 1 st and is likely to have been the same bird seen later in the year at Redgrave Lake in September, Lakenheath Fen, December 12th and Nunnery Floods, Thetford, December 17th. GREATER W H I T E - F R O N T E D G O O S E Anser albifrons Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. Categories A and E. While normally in most winters there is a regular presence of Greater White-fronted Geese at Minsmere, in 2010 this site had only a few records with seven birds on Island Mere on January 1st and a maximum of 150 noted, January 14th. Their other main site, however, North Warren, where they tend to favour the North Marsh, held the bulk of the county's birds during the first winter period, with peaks of 440, January 30th, 302, February 20th and 217, March 3rd and North Warren also hosted the last of the period with two on April 17th. Hazlewood Marshes was another regular haunt for this species, mostly in small numbers but with a maximum count of 300, February 6th. Further coastal records included 60 at Aldeburgh which flew south on the first day of the year, while two days later 14 flew in off the sea then headed south at Sizewell. On January 21 st 15 flew north at Breydon South Flats and at Woodsend Marshes, Southwold, 19 flew north-west at the end of January. In the south-east of the county notable counts were of 300 at Walton Marshes, January 15th, 118 which flew north in small groups during the afternoon of January 30th at Orfordness, where 12 were present on the airfields earlier in the month, 50 at Woodbridge, February 6th and 100 at Ferry Farm, Sudbourne, March 13th, with smaller numbers occurring regularly at Boyton and Trimley Marshes. For the second winter period, North Warren was once again the main site for the species, with the first returning birds there on October 13th. Numbers gradually built up with an influx in December, culminating in a count of 725 on the last day of the year which constitutes a site record. At Belton Marshes 44 were present on December 26th, whilst on the following day, 340 were at Reydon Marshes. At Minsmere this species was recorded on four dates with the largest count being 42 which flew north, December 20th. Elsewhere on




the coast some movement in November included eight which flew south at Southwold and five over Breydon South Wall, where 88 were present, December 24th. More movement was noted in December at Ness Point, Lowestoft where 17 flew in off the sea and then headed north-west inland, 18th and at Thorpeness 24 flew north and 88 flew south, 31 st. Walton, just as earlier in the year, attracted this species with a flock of 200, November 15th and two or three were noted nearby at Trimley Marshes, while at Landguard 28 flew south, December 20th with 55 flying north two days later. There were a couple of records from the west of the county, including a flock of 200 that flew over Bowbeck, Bardwell, December 21 st which may constitute the largest-ever inland flock of this species recorded in Suffolk. 12 flew over Lackford Lakes, December 20th and four were at Redgrave Lake the following day. GREYLAG GOOSE A nser unser Common resident from feral flock. Scarce winter visitor. Amber List. Categories A, C and E. This species continues to increase in Suffolk and part of this can be down to the higher number of recorded breeding sites this year which totalled 33 compared with 14 sites recorded last year. There was also a significant increase in the number of broods to 86 and the number of young was 67. The number of young may seem low in relation to the number of broods but not all young were reported and it may also be due to failed breeding such as occurred at North Warren where, although 22 pairs were present, breeding success appeared to be very limited with just two pairs noted with young, five and three respectively. One was paired with a Canada Goose on Havergate Island. Livermere Lake is a stronghold for this species and numbers regularly build up at the site in September and October and the two four-figure counts in the table are close to the county record which was set at the same site in 2007 with a count of 1285. Other notable flocks included; 165, Havergate Island, January 17th; 190, Higham, February 9th; 200, Hazlewood Marshes, February 21 st; 125, Sharmford Mere, Coddenham, April 5th; 156, Hen Reedbeds, August 1st; 100, Lound Waterworks, August 15th. In September 170 were at Barton Mere, 3rd; 380, Thorpe Bay, Trimley St Martin, 15th; 100, Burgh Castle, 17th and 130, Redgrave Lake, 19th. In October, 100, Kessingland, October 9th, 186 Nunnery Floods, Thetford, 11th and 180, Loompit Lake, 22nd. while in November 105 were at Church Marshes, Shotley, 23rd. In December large flocks involved 425 at Thorington Street Reservoir, 13th, 180 at Mickle Mere, 16th and 148, Barham Pits, 28th. A flock of 157 at Belton Marshes, December 20th and again on 26th included three birds with neck collars that were ringed in Orkney in July 2010. The group of 306 Peak monthly counts at selected sites: Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr in the table above 350 150 312 239 75 331 118 96 from Orfordness, Minsmere 44 162 200 280 120 2 31 which was on the North Warren 306 25 10 3 12 196 64 33 Airfields on Novem- Orfordness 141 •.-"-... 47 432 88 394 316 ber 14th, was the Aide WeBS 19 51 113 244 243 22 30 93 largest flock seen at DebenWeBS 102 171 352 23 66 88 25 the site for some Orwell Estuar}'WeBS 65 545 555 367 60 14 96 578 time. At Landguard Alton Water 104 400 44 58 139 29 100 76 Bird Observatory Lackford Lakes 243 1030 1000 500 noted on 25 dates Livermere between March 9th and May 5th, with a maximum of nine, April 5th and on five further dates later in the year. GREATER CANADA G O O S E litania canadensis Common resident. Categories A, C and E. What is noticeable from the table for this species, compared with previous years, is that


Suffolk Birci Report


along with showing a gradual increase in numbers, there is also movement between the different estuaries, with higher numbers in 2010 on the Orwell but fewer on the Deben, except in September. Breeding records were slightly higher than last year, with breeding occurring at 22 sites, resulting in a total of 38 broods and 71 young being counted. North Warren was the main site with a full count of the marshes, reedbed and mere in April producing a tally of 12 pairs. At Melton on the River Deben, a Canada Goose paired with a Greylag Goose and produced four young. High counts away from the main sites in the table include 100, Great Wratting, January 19th; 100, Lakenheath RSPB in January; 102 at Southwold Town Marshes, February 13th; 150, Higham, February 23rd; 278, Cattawade, March 14th; 80, Sharmford Mere, Coddenham, April 5th; a large flock of 530 on Havergate Island, October 13th; 100, Little Cornard, October 31st; 350, Cavenham Pits, December 2nd; 182, Thorington Street Reservoir, December 13th and 116, Great Barton, December 27th. On Orfordness, the species became Peak monthly counts at selected sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dee scarce in December, 24 Minsmere 11 25 150 28 41 16 with only one record North Warren 24 64 14 8 94 94 J Sa 10 of a single bird on Orfordness 51 40 26 10 12 252 103 1 19th, most likely Aide WeBS ili512 258 418 338 566 851 due to cold weather Deben WeBS 99 36 48 490 39 55 28 3 and frozen airfields. Orwell Estuary WéBS 136 100 54 139 308 130 29 131 At Landguard Bird Lackford Lakes 27 110 88 115 158 108 232 Observatory there Redgrave Lake 320 190 200 30 210 were fewer records than in 2009 with just five sightings including 11 out, then in, March 28th, four offshore, May 28th and, in June, 26 south, 12th and two, 21st and in August, ten south, 15th. B A R N A C L E G O O S E /irania leucopsis Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant; increasingly common feral resident. Amber List. Categories A and E. Minsmere remains one of the principal sites for this increasing species in Suffolk. The reserve had 47 breeding pairs and the site record was broken again on September 28th with a count of 670. This figure is eclipsed though, by two large flocks, at either end of the year at Reydon Marshes with 940, January 10th and an incredible 1580, a new county total, December 26th. It is noticeable that the species is more abundant during the winter periods with a triple-figure count last recorded on March 6th with 200 at Kessingland and not noted again until 485 at Eaton Bavents on August 15th. Away from the main sites some larger numbers, likely to be wandering birds, could be seen occasionally, such as 250 at Benacre which flew over the village, January 2nd and 170, Dunwich beach, February 14th. Sightings at less typical sites include up to 30 at Hazlewood Marshes in January, while during February, ten flew east over Barsham Marshes and 12 were at Henstead and 37 at Ashby. The species was Peak monthly counts at the principal sites: found at a number of Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep other sites around the — 400 Kessingland 300 200 200 40 county during the Southwold/Reydon 1580 940 2 66— year, mostly in single Minsmere 277 150 90 151 670 22 figures; Bungay and North Warren 190 25 22 312 289 355 •• Flixton Gravel Pits in north Suffolk, Orfordness and Havergate on the coast, and in the south-east at Landguard, Trimley Marshes, Shotley Marshes with singles at Cattawade and Stratford St. Mary. In the




west there were regular sightings of between one and three birds at Livermere Lake, one of which was noted to have a metal ring on its right leg, and at Lackford, along with Thorington Street Reservoir and Elveden, where 16 were present, March 17th. (DARK-BELLIED) BRENT GOOSE Brunta bermela bermela Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. Categories A and E. Offshore there were regular movements up and down the coast at a number of sites, principally at Kessingland and Thorpeness, in the first three months of the year including 89 bathing in the sea at Kessingland, January 30th before they flew inland, while further up the coast, at Gunton, 50 flew south, January 26th. Brent Geese were encountered on the River Waveney with 60 at Burgh Castle, January 16th and regularly at Breydon South Wall with a maximum count of 114, February 15th. The Suffolk estuaries in the south-east are the main area for this species as can be seen in the table. Other notable counts include over 120 feeding in fields at Shingle Street, January 23rd; 400+ at Ramsholt; January 30th; 600 at Kirton Marshes, January 31st; 550 at Trimley Marshes, February 6th and 550 at Falkenham Marshes, February 7th and 1500 at Levington, February 27th. At Havergate Island on February 20th, 800 were roosting and bathing on the main reserve with the flock feeding nearby at Gedgrave. On the Stour, over 100 were at Erwarton Ness on May 17th and one at Harkstead on July 7th. In the west there was a single record from Lakenheath Fen RSPB with an adult on the River Little Ouse, January 23rd. Brent were seen every month offshore at Landguard Bird Observatory with the last in spring being one on June 2nd. Mid-summer records involved two south, July 25th and two out and north, July 27th. Summer records at Orfordness were a single bird on the lagoon on June 12th and 15th and in July one on the managed retreat on 11th. On the Stour, overlOO were still at Erwarton Ness, May 17th and one at Harkstead, July 7th. Autumn passage commenced with Peak monthly counts at selected sites: Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep one off Landguard, 50 440 267 4 6 20 92 Orfordness 12 August 27th. Kess228 81 0 0 39 70 563 495 ingland and Thorpe- Aide WeBS 457 159 6 0 20 956 1173 83 ness were again the Deben WeBS 115 451 0 133 Orwell Estuar) WcBS 508 665 123 361 main sites, with 696 0 298 481 Stour Estuary WeBS 754 1150 90 regular sightings 807 619 360 300 602 125 78 43 Trimley Marshes from mid-September. From the records submitted, it can be seen that although being seen almost daily, there are definite peaks of two or three days when the passage counts are much higher. Those peak days include September 28th with 895 past Kessingland, involving 45 north and 850 south, and at Thorpeness when 1400 flew south between 3.30pm and 5.15pm. On September 29th, 2123 flew south past Landguard, 85 were off Kessingland and 200 flew south early morning at Sizewell beach. The next peak was on October 8th, with 439 at Kessingland and 590 at Thorpeness and on the following day, 135 flew past Gorleston, 116 at Lowestoft North beach, 90 at Kessingland and 179 at Thorpeness. The final peak movements came in November with 165 south past Kessingland and 1049 south past Thorpeness, both on 7th. On 8th, 374 flew south past Kessingland, 2000 flew south at Minsmere in a strong south-easterly wind and 1002 flew south past Thorpeness. It was remarked that numbers were low in the estuaries in the second winter period with no large numbers being recorded. Other counts included 50, Shotley Point, October 2nd and only two triple-figure counts with 219, Church Marshes, Shotley, November 23rd and 620, Shotley Marshes, December 26th. On December 31st, 38 flew north over Bath Street, adjacent to Ipswich Docks.


Suffolk Birci Report


(PALE-BELLIED) B R E N T GOOSE Branta bermela hrota Uncommon winter visitor. It was a good year for this subspecies, especially in the second winter period when triplefigure counts were observed. A single bird, first seen on the beach at Kessingland, January 3 r d w a s most likely the same individual seen at a few other sites along the coast in January including Reydon Marshes, the 12th and 13th, nearby Southwold Town Marshes, 17th, North Warren, 27th and Breydon South Wall, February 7th. At Havergate there were three, February 15th, increasing to eight, 17th and to ten, 19th with two finally seen on March 8th. Nearby, there were five present on Orfordness with Dark-bellied Brent Geese, February 20th with three the next day, which were noted on the Aide WeBS count also on 20th. Ali the records from the south-east carne during the first winter period with up to six at Kirton Marshes at the end of January, and three at the site in mid-February with the same birds also seen at Falkenham Marshes and nearby Hollesley. The sightings at Trimley Marshes of two or three birds on a few dates in the first half of February show apparent movement between the Deben and Orwell estuaries. An individuai was seen at Wherstead Strand on February 3rd. On September 6th two birds which flew south together off Hopton-on-Sea were subsequently seen past Corton Cliffs and Kessingland with one at the latter site on November lOth. In December there was an influx of Pale-bellied Brents, initially with one on Orfordness, 4th and three there, 1 lth, five at North Warren, 5th and one at Slaughden also on 5th. The influx became more prominent when 50 flew north past Minsmere, 12th. Breydon South Wall was to be the main site with 58 on 15th increasing to 122 on 26th with 100 present the following two days. Elsewhere, two flew south past Thorpeness, 19th; 22 were present, 24th and 27th at Reydon Marshes including nine first-winters; two flew north at Minsmere, 25th and finally one was on Minsmere Levels, 30th. BLACK B R A N T Branta bermela nigrieans Very rare visitor. An adult was present on March 27th and 28th at Slaughden, between the barrier and the Martello tower with 16 Dark-bellied Brent Geese. A single bird was at Shotley, with Darkbellied Brents, December 27th. Slaughden: Mar 27th and 28th (D Crawshaw, M C Marsh et al.). Shotley: Marshes, photographed, Dee 27th (N Crouch). EGYPTIAN G O O S E Alopochen aegyptiaea Locally fairly common resident. Categories C and E. There were fewer large flocks compared with 2009 but this species was stili widespread across the county with most records, although not the highest totals, again coming from the north-east. Here they were found at a number of sites with peak counts of 32, Burnt Hill, Carlton Colville, January lst; 41, Burgh Castle Flats, July 4th; 20, Lound Waterworks, August 15th and 38 at Castle Marshes, North Cove, December 23rd. This species has its stronghold in west Suffolk. The highest site-counts were 55 at Livermere Lake, August 18th, 33 at Redgrave Lake, September 19th, 20 at Barton Mere, October 23rd (considered a high count for the site) and 59 at Flempton, November 27th with 40 on the same day at Lackford Lakes that may have been the same birds. Apart from 14 counted on the Aide WeBS count, January 17th, it was only single-figure numbers recorded in the south-east, with a group of seven on the airfields on Orfordness, January 17th; four at Cattawade, Aprii 18th; three, Sharmford Mere, Coddenham, May 31 st and four on the River Gipping near Baylham, November 12th. At Landguard Bird Observatory one which flew south on December 4th is the third site record. A pair was noted initially at Thorpe Meare, March 20th where they appeared to be prospecting the islands; they were likely to be the same two seen at a number of sites elsewhere in the following




three months before they were recorded again at a nest on the small pond at the front of the Meare, June 30th. However, breeding did not appear to have been successful. Breeding records came from 18 locations again predominately in the west with young reported at Livermere Lake, Timworth, Cavenham Pits and Barton Mere. At Barton Mere the first brood of six goslings was found to be absent at the end of May probably due to fox prédation. Subsequently a second brood of seven new goslings was noted, June 12th.

GJ oo

COMMON SHELDUCK Tadorna tadorna Locally common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The low water WeBS count on the Monthly countsfromthe key sites: Oct Nov Dec Sep Jan Feb Mar Apr Stour Estuary of 32 102 341 340 346 Blyth Estuary 265 413 128 1837, February 23rd 1 117 273 305 1020 315 211 Aide/Ore Estuary is the highest count 314 241 442 467 368 75 Deben Estuary on the estuary since Orwell Estuary HW 35 116 372 501 595 388 797 10 one of 1963 in Orwell Estuar}' LW ' 363 868 849 December 1994, Stour Estuary HW 1129 194 89 240 618 239 393 while the low water Stour Estuary LW 1178 1776 1837 WeBS count on the Livermere Lake* 165 45 101 iKíüf; 130 Orwell Estuary of * monthly maxima LW =Low Water HW = High Water 868, December 14th is the highest there since one of 1033 in February 1997. Other than those in the table, the only significant numbers were unseasonably high WeBS counts on the Orwell Estuary of 198, May 16th and 101, June 20th and a non-WeBS count on Havergate Island (part of the Aide/Ore Estuary complex) of 122, July 2nd. Breeding success was down on the previous three years at Orfordness, the main breeding site in the County, with 14 broods totalling 97 young. The fact that only 18 large juveniles could be found in mid-July probably reflects a poor survival rate. At North Warren a maximum of 23 pairs was present in early May, and at least 18 birds prospected at Landguard during spring and early summer, but breeding was not subsequently confirmed at either site. At Flixton GP five pairs raised a total of 42 young, four pairs raised 28 young at Livermere Lake and there were four territories at Benacre NNR and three at Hen Reedbeds. Elsewhere Dingle Marshes, Sizewell, Trimley Marshes and Bury St Edmunds Sugar Beet Factory each supported two pairs, while single pairs were recorded at Melton, Loompit Lake (Trimley St Martin), Alton Water, Mickle Mere, Lackford Lakes, Fornham All Saints and Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland. There were two notable offshore movements in the second winter period, with nine north and 46 south offThorpeness, November 7th and 63 south off Landguard, December 1st. MANDARIN DUCK Abe galericulata Uncommon feral visitor. Small breeding population. Categories C and E. Breeding was again confirmed at Holywells Park, Ipswich, where it is most likely that two pairs bred, although suspected brood amalgamation complicated the picture. A female was tending 18 young (the maximum number observed), May 27th, a total of 16 young was seen in two broods, May 28th and 31st, while 12 young accompanied a single female throughout June and July. Breeding was also confirmed for the second successive year in the west of the County, with a pair raising three young on the Little Ouse River at Santon Downham. Gunton: Hail, male, Mar 25th. Oulton: Marshes, pair, Apr 30th to May 5th. Minsmere: pair, Dec 18th and 19th. North Warren: female, Nov 28th.


Suffolk Birci Report

Mandaarin Duck Jonny Ronkin


Ipswich: Christchurch Park, two males, Apr 26th; ten, Aug 18 th; nine, Sep 20th; 11, Sep 22nd. Holy wells Park, 17, Jan 17th; 13, Jan 20th; two pairs most likely bred, maximum of 18 young. May 27th; 22 (12 males), Nov 27th. Victoria Nurseries, Westerfield Road, 14, Jan 6th; eight (four males), Jan 24th. Rushmere St Andrew: two. Mar 18th. Trimley Marshes: female, Dec 11th and 12th. Needham Market: Needham Lake, three males, Nov 8th to 30th; two, Dec 2nd.

Baylham: River Gipping, Nov 12th. Santon Downham: Little Ouse River, pair with three young, Jun 18th. Brandon: pair, Mar 13th; female, Sep 1st. Fakenham Magna: The Black Bourn, pair, Apr 22nd. Lackford Lakes: two males, Mar 13th. Ickworth: Park, 25, new County record total, Sep 11th; 12, Sep 21st; female, Sep 30th. Sudbury: Common Lands, male, Dec 21st and 22nd. Stoke-by-Nayland: Tendring Hall Park, male, Apr 7th. FIELD NOTE Whilst watching a temale Mandarin and her young brood in Holywells Park, May 22nd, I noticed a small Grass Snake swimming nearby. The snake was also seen by the temale Mandarin and what happened next was fascinating. She flew, then swam towards the snake, putting her head under the water as she neared it. On surfacing she litted the snake clear out of the water and propelled it through the air several feet. She then returned to her brood, gathered them In and guided them to safety. Bill Stone EURASIAN W I G E O N Anas penelope Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Amber list. Categories A and E. Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan Sep Feb Mar Apr Blvth Estuar) 2465 586 28 0 0 Dingle Marshes 120 12 4 52 Minsmere* 550 124 200 673 935 North Warren* 3200 1857 583 57 10 Aide/Ore Estuary 9128 4784 2555 200 110 Deben Estuary 1249 470 413 2 13 Orwell Estuar} HW 1197 376 577 25 25 — — Orwell Estuary LW 1143 •Só Alton Water -r 102 37 93 2 Stour Estuary HW 1397 1059 578 36 242 Stour Estuary LW 2339 i'" Flixton Decoy* 150 500 100 . Redgrave Lake* 187 210 25 Lakenheath Fen* -, 30 156 350 Mickle Mere* 95 158 58 -i Gifford's Hall* 600 1500 176 Thorington Street Res.* 310 80 45 *monthly maxima HW = High Water LW =Low Water 38

Nov 48 50 537 1035 2772 710 215 — 1079 7 53 472 1184 a —; 2471 110 253 185 9

Oct 41 95 325 341 2236 372 279




1000 88

Dec 1122 57 624 2150 4793 771 228 1443 -

410 3524 -

70 180 200 44



The WeBS count on the Aide/Ore Estuary complex of 9128, January 17th is the highest count made in the County since January 1985 when 10,000 were present at Gedgrave. Indeed, reflecting the very cold weather, overall numbers in the County in January were also at their highest for 25 years. The graph below shows the combined January count, when available, from the five major estuaries (Blyth, Aide/Ore, Deben, Orwell and Stour) plus Minsmere and North Warren over this period. There were also a number of significant counts in the first winter period from sites not included in the table, including 200, Breydon South Flats, January 18th; 2400, Burgh Castle Flats, January 10th and 700, January 16th; 250, Ashby Warren, March 6th; 110, Oulton Marshes, February 14th; 100, Benacre Broad, January 30th; 1200, Botany Farm, Farnham, January 18th; 375, Abbey Farm, Snape, January 1st; 232, Ixworth, March 12th; 105, Stokeby-Nayland, February 9th and 170, Higham (near Hadleigh), February 9th. In the second winter period additional three-figure counts came from Oulton Broad, 250, December 15th and Flixton GP, 275, November 28th.

Combined January Counts from the Main Sites 25000


1 *


z 10000


There was the usual scattering of mid-summer records involving up to 19 individuals, but no evidence of breeding. The main offshore movements are listed below. Autumn passage began with 11 south off Kessingland, August 20th and peaked during strong south-easterly winds on November 8th. Kessingland: 175 south, Jan 8th; 108 south and 50 on the sea, Jan 23rd; 55 north and 209 south, Sep 28th; 21 north and 145 south, Sep 29th; 100 north, Dec 31st. Minsmere: 195 south, Sep 23rd; 500 south, Nov 8th. Thorpeness: 145 south, Sep 28th; 16 north and 117 south, Nov 7th; 172 south, Nov 8th; 20 north and 405 south, Nov 28th; 106 north and two south, Dec 31st. Landguard: 162 south, Jan 8th; 244 south, Nov 8th. GADWALL Anas streperà Common resident and winter visitor. Amber list. Categories A and C. Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr Aug Lowestoft Leathes Ham* 14 4 6 14 3 Dingle Marshes _ 14 ;'•-. _ 32 22 Minsmere* 78 204 312 193 36 North Warren* 140 200 28 13 32 Aide/Ore Estuary 255 106 29 21 Orwell Estuary HW , 7 38 305 24 6 Orwell Estuary LW 106 _ Alton Water* 324 4 4 2 Redgrave Lake* 74 5 118 78 _ Lakenheath Fen 24 . _ 152 8 Mickle Mere* 152 36 48 130 Lackford Lakes* 150 45 70 38 9 Thorlngton Street Res* 206 30 110 m * monthly maxima HW = High Water LW = Low Water


Sep 87 59 119 38 -




Oct 71 56 46 26 24 194 -

5 49 31

7 138 78

60 66

29 102


Nov 50 69 156 58 76 187 94 123 154 44


49 60

Dec 30 15 60 218 64 2 94 3 -

10 50 250 80

Suffolk Birci Report


Numbers were well down during both winter periods, no doubt related to the freezing conditions, and the maximum count of the year (324 at Alton Water, January 17th) is the lowest yearly peak for ten years. Aside from the table, other counts of note in the first winter period included 52, Trimley Marshes, March Ist; 82, Stour Estuary (WeBS count), January 17th; 50, Flixton Decoy, January 23rd and 73, Barton Mere, February 4th. Minsmere held high numbers throughout the spring and summer, with counts of 144, May 16th; 165, June 27th and 216, July 18th. In the second winter period further significant counts were made at Burgh Castle Fiats, 136, December 17th; Hen Reedbeds, 57, November 14th; Sizewell, 151, December 20th and Flixton GP, 60, November 28th. A total of 141 breeding pairs was recorded from 13 coastal and eight inland sites, which compares very favourably with recent years. For the second consecutive year the site record was broken at Minsmere, with a potential breeding population of 96 pairs, although a comprehensive survey at Benacre NNR logged only six pairs, a 50% decline since 2005. The majority of the 16 broods reported were in the west of the County, including three at Thorington Street Reservoir in July. EURASIAN TEAL Anas crecca Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. Amber list. Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Blyth Estuar)' 840 160 0 0 384 0 Dingle Marshes 532 379 630 72 690 Minsmere* 1105 735 357 596 314 1638 NorthWarren* 580 470 210 105 700 86 Aide/Ore Estuary 468 2191 4986 1234 527 100 Deben Estuary 663 171 176 26 17 83 Orwell Estuary H\V 870 113 30 62 112 242 Orwell Estuary LW 535 Trimley Marshes* 512 421 486 73 Stour Estuary HW 967 645 447 42 166 290 'KStour Estuary LW 849 Lakenheath Fen* 14 155 400 88 66 Mickle Mere* 67 320 197 132 i » 20 120 Livermere Lake* Lackford Lakes* 930 250 141 28 46 256 •• Gifford's Hall* 200 120 54 * monthly maxima HW = High Water LW Low Water

Nov 440 233 1177 700 3682 348 719 1026 279 1211 81 -t

Dee 1043 205 236 630 4178 373 6 1344 375 285 1224 49 50






There were some substantial counts in both winter periods. The run of high WeBS counts on the Aide/Ore Estuary complex continued, with the count o f 4 9 8 6 , January 17th, being the highest in the County since January 1956 when 6000 were present on Havergate Island. At Lackford Lakes the 930 recorded on January 4th is the highest count ever made in the west of the County, exceeding the 700 at Lakenheath Fen in January 2003. There was an unseasonably high WeBS count of 220 at Minsmere, August 15th; otherwise, aside from the sites covered in the table, three-figure counts carne from Breydon South Flats, 200, January 18th; Burgh Castle Flats, 614, January 3rd and 179, March 7th; Benacre Broad, 500, January 30th; Snape Marshes, 1000, January 18th; Abbey Farm, Snape, 240, February 26th; Little Cornarci, 180, January 5th and Higham (near Hadleigh), 130, September 19th. It is welcome to report that breeding was confirmed in the county. A female was observed accompanying three small ducklings at Lackford Lakes, Aprii 12th. In addition nine coastal sites held small numbers throughout the breeding season.


&2. King Eider off Minsmere in September.

Bill Bastรณn


4. Pintail.

5. Green-winged Teal at Minsmere in December. Mike Parker

Amanda Hay ?s

6. Smew wintering at Minsmere Wayne Geater


7. Black-necked Grebe at Levington in

8. Red-necked Grebe at Bawdsey in



Jon Evans

BUI Bastรณn

10. Stone Curlew at Minsmere in October. Jon Evans

12. Coots.

11. Lesser Kestrel, a surprise visitor lo Minsmere in March. Robin Hanny

Bill Bastรณn



A singleton south off Kessingland, July 2nd, heralded the Start of a prolonged autumn passage. Landguard Bird Observatory recorded peak numbers in September (a total of 638 was logged flying south) and again in November (674 south). Significant day-counts were received as follows:Lowestoft: Ness Point, 46 north and 56 south, Aug 30th. Kessingland: 132 south, Nov 17th. Minsmere: 302 south, Sep 23rd; 300 south, Nov 8th; 100 south, Nov 17th. Thorpeness: 104 south, Nov 8th. Landguard: 184 south, Aug 14th; 191 south, Sep 29th. GREEN-WINGED TEAL Anas carolinensis Rare visitor. Minsmere: male, Jan 2nd to 4th (B J Small etat.); male, Dec 28th to 3Ist (S Mayson etat.). Orfordness: male, Apr 17th (M C Marsh, D Crawshaw); male, Dec 5th (M C Marsh, G Stannard) Four records in a year is unprecedented, and brings the County total to 30, although it seems reasonable to speculate that all four records could relate to the same individual. MALLARD Anas platyrhynchos Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Monthly counts from the keysites: Jan Feb Mar Apr Lowestoft, Leathes Ham 65 129 60 Dingle Marshes 24 300 352 Minsmere* 134 567 228 129 North Warren* 168 124 51 ... Aide/Ore Estuary 442 222 233 Deben Estuary 134 81 116 î ï W î Orwell Estuary HW 54 79 131 73 Orwell Estuary LW 275 Stour Estuary HW 129 58 51 ... Stour Estuary LW 73 Lakenheath Fen 80 300 77 •• ... Lackford Lakes4 377 62 53 Thorington Street Res.* 124 * monthly maxima HW =High Water LW = Low Water

Aug -

37 -

55 38 -

133 230

Sep 140 146 30 104 5 111 75

Oct 214 153 196 37 346 178 123

Nov 120 111 222 92 226 270 275 229 4 62 78 ÇSS» 269 192 190 236 267 157 91 200 6: sSft 60

Dec 142 34 630 222 417 435 136 167 24 264 167 209 156

The extremely cold conditions in December concentrated the counts, although overall numbers on the coast were not significantly higher. A non-WeBS count of 630 at Minsmere, December 9th, is the largest gathering there since a count of 700 in October 1990, and the WeBS count on the Deben Estuary, December 19th, is the highest there since one of 481 in February 1987. In the first winter period additional three-figure counts were received from Flixton Decoy, 100, January 23rd; Redgrave Lake, 150, January 3rd; Mickle Mere, 106, February 1st and Sudbury Common Lands, 165, January 8th. In the second winter period significant counts were more widespread and included 150, Oulton Broad, December 21 st; 180, Weybread GP, November 28th; 127, Redgrave Fen, September 11th; 170, Cavenham Pits, December 24th; 220, Mickle Mere, December 31st; 150, Higham (near Hadleigh), October 3rd and 200, Sudbury Common Lands, December 22nd. As usual, high counts were received from Livermere Lake (1500, September 5th) and Flixton GP (575, November 28th), but these largely comprised birds released for shooting. Breeding was very well reported from 44 sites and totalled 381 pairs. Almost 75% of these came from the coastal reserves at Benacre (50 pairs), Hen Reedbeds (29 pairs), Minsmere ( 122 pairs), Sizewell (20 pairs) and North Warren (62 pairs). However, only three



Suffolk Birci Report


broods were located at North Warren, highlighting the considerable level of prédation that this species suffers. NORTHERN PINTAIL Anas acuta Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant; a few oversummer. Amber list. Categories A and E. WeBS counts Monthly countsfromthe key sites: Apr Oct Nov Dec Jan Sep Feb Mar nationally indicate a 59 260 134 0 0 0 60 Blyth Estuary 78 sharp decline from 94 4 1 72 115 North Warren4 110 18 1 an historic peak in ;- i 7 34 94 192 Aide/Ore Estuary 176 281 80 the winter of 8 89 Deben Estuary 68 56 0 0 58 16 2005/06. This situa- Orwell Estuary HW 95 24 10 22 1 0 85 2 tion is mirrored in Orwell Estuary LW 192 120 229 • Suffolk, where for Trimley Marshes* 64 73 71 Ì the second succes- Stour Estuary HW 40 7 2 37 21 0 0 25 sive year no count Stour Estuary LW • / 393 135 285 exceeded 400. Size- * monthly maxima HW High Water LW = Low Water able late-summer flocks of 70, Benacre, August 10th and 151, Minsmere, September 8th, contained several leucistic individuals indicative of captive origin. Minsmere held a maximum of four in June, and two were present on Havergate Island, June 6th, but there was no evidence of breeding. There were 54 at Botany Farm, Snape, January 18th (an offshoot of the flock wintering nearby on the Aide Estuary) Inland records were received f r o m : Redgrave Fen: Sep 1st. Redgrave Lake: Feb 21st; two, Oct 24th. Lakenheath Fen: five, Mar 11th; Oct 21st. West Stow: Country Park, Apr 29th. Lackford Lakes: monthly maxima of three, January; two, February; three, March; two, April and May; one, August, September, October and November; three, December. Livermere Lake: Oct 10th and 19th. Norton: four, Feb 26th. Sturmer: Mere, Jan 18th and Feb 15th. Stoke-by-Nayland: Gifford's Hall, 13, Jan 1st; six, Feb 9th; 14, Mar 15th; eight, Nov 18th. Higham (near Hadleigb): nine, Feb 23rd. Coastal passage was logged as follows:Gorleston: ten north, Sep 8th. Kessingland: ten north and one south in January; 18 south, Feb 8th; one north and five south in September; one north, Oct 16th; 19 south in November. Southwold: 14 north, Aug 30th. Minsmere: 48 south, Aug 13th; eight south, Sep 23rd; 15 south, Nov 8th. Thorpeness: four north, Mar 14th; three south, Aug 1st; one south, Oct 29th; 13 south, Oct 30th; three south, Nov 8th; 17 south, Nov 14th. Landguard: 25 south in August; 20 south in September; six south in October; two north and 44 south in November; 17 south in December. G A R G A N E Y Anas querquedula Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. As Britain lies at the north-western edge of its breeding range, this popular summer visitor is subject to considerable annual fluctuations. 2010 was a relatively poor year, with records from only ten sites, the lowest number since 2003. Birds were recorded between March 17th (a male at Lakenheath Fen) and October 11th (at Leathes Ham, Lowestoft), but the only evidence for breeding concerned a displaying pair at Minsmere on two days in late May . The




maximum count was of five on three dates during September at Leathes Ham, although the provenance of the Garganey occurring at this site must be questionable, with colour-ringed captive birds present in recent autumns. Lowestoft: Leathes Ham, one to five recorded daily from Sep 9th to 24th; Oct 9th and 11th. Southwold: offshore, Sep 4th. Minsmere: male, Mar 22nd; two males, Apr 3rd; male, Apr 4th to 15th; pair, Apr 16th; male, Apr 29th; pair, May 20th and 21 st; male, Jun 2nd to 4th. Havergate Island: two, Apr 22nd; Aug 20th. Boyton Marshes: two males, Apr 10th; pair, Apr 11th and 12th; three (two males), Apr 18th; pair, Apr 20th. Bawdsey: East Lane, two, Aug 19th, 21st and 22nd; two, Aug 27th; four, Aug 28th to 30th; three, Aug 31st; two, Sep 6th; Sep 9th; three, Sep 10th, 14th and 15th; Sep 16th, 20th and 21st. Trimley Marshes: pair, Apr 21st; May 1st, 4th, 26th and 30th; pair, Jun 2nd; male, Jun 9th and 25th. Lakenheath Fen: male, Mar 17th to 21st; two males, Mar 22nd and 23rd; male, Mar 26th; four, Apr 16th; two males, Apr 17th; male, Apr 23rd and May 13th and 15th. Elveden: Aug 22nd. Lackford Lakes: male, May 15th to 17th; two, Jun 6th. NORTHERN SHOVELER



Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Uncommon resident. Amber list. Jan Feb Mar Apr Aug Sep Oct Nov Monthly counts from the key sites: Lowestoft Leathes Ham 34 20 0 17 30 32 20 25 Minsmere* 170 61 138 101 107 19 47 340 North Warren* 110 124 78 40 12 46 20 25 Aide/Ore Estuary 156 40 4 42 78 79 51 1 Orwell Estuary HW 40 26 76 8 16 32 52 54 Orwell Estuary LW -S S 1 -V ~ 104 §!jit€ 109 Trimley Marshes* 58 66 124 46 16 Livermere Lake* 16 14 103 129 fiftl© Lackford Lakes* 84 0 0 0 144 102 124 31 * monthly maxima HW = High Water LW = Low Water

Dec 49 51 140 106 0 52 -


The WeBS count of 340 at Minsmere, November 14th was the largest gathering of the year, and the largest on the reserve since one of 420 in February 1971. Cold weather movement no doubt accounted for the peak count of 200 at Lackford Lakes, December 12th, the highest there for ten years. Elsewhere, other counts exceeding 30 were received f r o m : Alton Water: 102, Jan 11th. Stour Estuary: 34, Jan 17th (WeBS count). Lakenheath Fen: 35, Mar 11th. Barton Mere: 31, Sep 25th. Bury St Edmunds: Sugar Beet Factory, 45, Feb 24th; 34, Dec 27th. Mickle Mere: maximum count of 74, Mar 8th; 32, Apr 6th. Thorington Street: Reservoir, 37, Nov 18th. Having equalled the site record last year with 45 breeding pairs, Minsmere comfortably surpassed this in 2010 with 63 pairs. Elsewhere, Hen Reedbeds supported three pairs, C ovehithe Broad, Dingle Marshes and North Warren one pair each, while the only brood of the year was reported from Mickle Mere in late May. A notable passage occurred off Thorpeness, November 28th, when 45 flew south. R E D - C R E S T E D P O C H A R D Netta rufina Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Categories A and E. A long-staying male, which accounted for all sightings in the south-east of the County, is


Suffolk Birci Report


almost certainly of feral origin, as were the birds at Redgrave and Lakenheath Fens in late summer. Introduced birds were responsible for a count of 30 on September 2nd at Flixton GR where a pair also bred successfully. Benacre Broad: Nov 15th. Trimley Marshes: male, Jul 24th to 27th; Aug 19th; Oct 26th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, male, Jul 29th to 31st; male, Aug 9th and 13th; male, Oct 11th and 19th to 24th. Ipswich: Victoria Nurseries, Westerfield Road, male, Jan 6th and 24th. Wherstead: River Orwell, male, Jan 4th to 6th and 17th. Alton Water: male, Jan 1st; male, Oct 31st, Nov 7th and Dec 28th. Redgrave Fen: two juveniles, Aug 30th to Sep 24th. Lakenheath Fen: female, Aug 18th. Thorington Street: Reservoir, female, Jan 1 st to 11 th. COMMON POCHARD Aythyaferina Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Uncommon resident. Amber list. A and E. Monthly counts from the key sites: Feb Mar Apr Aug Sep Oct Jan 71 Orwell Estuar} HW U 48 67 26 0 13 : • 4. - 197 — Orwell Estuary LW ;i 91 Trimley Marshes* 112 39 ':•• 2 6 ' v -0 84 Alton Water 15 2 V" _ 8 26 Lackford Lakes* 89 46 96 107 69 77 47 * monthly maxima HW = High Water LW = Low Water

Nov 45 64 -

108 38


Dec 32 62 27 i 100

The downward trend in wintering numbers over the past four years shows little sign of reversing. Apart from the counts in the table, the only other to exceed 50 was a non-WeBS count of 75 on the River Orwell offFreston, December 26th. Breeding numbers were similarly poor, with just one brood located in Breckland, and a further four pairs which held territory at two coastal sites in the north-east. This represents a significant decline from the recent peak of 29 breeding pairs in the County in 2004. In that year Orfordness supported nine pairs, but none has bred there in the past two summers. Canvasback Aythya valisineria hybrid A male present at Cavenham Pits, March 25th and 26th (C Gregory, M Peers) was believed to be the returning hybrid individual seen at Lackford Lakes and Livermere Lake in March last year. FERRUGINOUS DUCK Aythya nyroca Rare winter visitor and passage migrant. Lowestoft: Leathes Ham, male of dubious origin, Dec 17th (AC Easton). Minsmere: female, Jun 23rd to Aug 13th (R Drew et al.). Lakenheath Fen: female, Oct 25th (S Wiltshire). Same as at Lackford Lakes. Lackford Lakes: female, Oct 3rd to 18th and Nov 7th (multi-observer). As last year a total of three individuals at four sites, including the first record for the Lowestoft area for 30 years. T U F T E D DUCK Aythya fuligula Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Four-figure WeBS counts at Alton Water, regularly achieved between 1994 and 2006, appear consigned to history. In addition to those in the table, the following counts above 50 were received:-




Lowestoft: Leathes Ham, maximum count of 77, Dec 25th. Minsmere: 62, May 16th (WeBS count). Alde/Ore Estuary: 56, Jan 17th (WeBS count). Stour Estuary: 72, Jan 17th (WeBS count). Flixton GP: 130,Nov28th. Weybread GP: 95, Jan 25th and again Nov 28th. Lakenheath Fen: maximum count of 130, March 3rd. Barham Pits: 150, Dec 28th. Thorington Street: Reservoir, 60, Sep 1 st. Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr May 15 Orwell Estuary HW 251 37 126 102 Orwell Estuary LW - 125 Alton Water* 451 88 128 70 56 34 Lackford Lakes* 143 94 73 101 62 Cavenham Pits* -

Jun 57 -

8 - -


Jul 34 -

24 147 65

Aug 81

Sep 18


127 254 -

91 158 59

Nov 42 100 85 280 149 128

Oct 7


Dec 27 15 1 150 -

A total of 81 broods or pairs was reported from 21 sites, which compares favourably with recent years. As usuai the north-east of the County held the majority, with 45 at Minsmere and four at each of Benacre Broad, Covehithe Broad and Hen Reedbeds, while in the west four broods were located at Thorington Street Reservoir in late July. Unusual summer passage sightings off Landguard included two in June, four in July and one in early August. GREATER SCAUP Aythya murila Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list. Records in the first winter period were as follows:Thorpeness: north, Jan lOth; seven south, Feb 2Ist. Havergate Island: Jan 13th. Trimley Marshes: first-winter male, Feb 8th. Stratton Hall: River Orwell, female, Jan 4th. Alton Water: female, Jan 5th and 26th; Mar 14th. Flixton GP: first-winter female, Feb 6th to 2Ist and Mar 20th to 27th. Weybread GP: first-winter female, Jan 25th. Same as at Flixton. Unseasonable records included a pair on the reservoir at Trimley Marshes, May 23rd to 26th, and one on Havergate Island, August 13th. The onset of cold weather in mid-October heralded the largest influx since 1997 as harsh conditions forced birds from their usuai wintering sites further north and east. Ones and twos were widely reported along the whole length of the coastline and along the major estuaries until the end of the year, although surprisingly no single count exceeded six. Lowestoft: Hamilton Dock, female, Dec 4th. Lake Lothing, female, Dec 18th; first-winter male and two adult females, Dec 20th to 3Ist, with four, Dec 23rd. Oulton Broad: female, Dec 5th to 15th. Benacre Pit: Oct 19th. Covehithe Broad: Oct 15th to 18th; three, Oct 19th and 20th; Oct 21 st to Nov 4th; two females, Nov 5th. Southwold: north, Sep 20th. Dunwich: Dingle Marshes, first-winter male, Dec lOth. Minsmere: Island Mere, female, Oct 26th, Nov 6th and Dec 2nd. Thorpeness: three south, Oct 29th; four south, Nov 2nd; two north and one south, Nov 7th; two south, Nov 8th; four south, Dec 3Ist. Havergate Island: Dec 4th. Boyton: Marshes, female, Nov 16th. Bawdsey: River Deben, male, Oct 7th; East Lane, female north, Oct 16th; female, Oct 18th to 20th. Melton: Fishing Lakes, first-winter male and first-winter female, Nov 26th and 28th to Dec 2nd, with first-winter female only Nov 27th and first-winter male only, Dec 3rd.


Suffolk Birci Report


Landguard: male north, Dec 1st. Stratton Hall: River Orwell, Dec 8th, 9th and 27th. Ipswich: Docks, female, Dec 12th; two, Dec 14th; female, Dec 21st. Wherstead: River Orwell, female, Dec 8th to 11th; two first-winter males and four females, Dec 26th. Freston: River Orwell, female regularly, Dec 19th to 31st. Alton Water: three, Dec 28th. Stutton: River Stour, Nov 7th to 25th; two, Dec 1st; Dec 4th; two, Dec 5th; four, Dec 7th to 10th; two, Dec 12th; Dec 13th and 26th. Thorington Street: Reservoir, first-winter male and adult female, Nov 26th and 29th. C O M M O N EIDER Somateria moltissima Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Has bred. Red list (S. m. mollissima). In the north-east of the County a total of 79 was noted offshore from seven sites between January 1st and March 19th, while a further 13 were recorded from three coastal sites in the south-east during the first ten days of January. The next sightings were not until mid-May, when a total of 34 was noted from three sites in the north-east between the 11th and 22nd, including 30 north ofFThorpeness, 18th. Midsummer records came from three sites. In June two were on the sea off Lowestoft, 13th, with one, 25 th, and four flew north, August 2nd, while singles were off Landguard, July 12th and Orfordness, August 15th. Offshore passage was then noted from late-August until the end of the year. There was a definite peak between November 7th and 10th, including 110 north off Southwold in four hours, 10th, the highest day-count recorded at a single site since 160 flew north off Kessingland, December 5th 2002. All day-counts exceeding 20 are listed below:Corton: 51 north, Nov 10th. Lowestoft: Ness Point, 80 north, Nov 7th. Kessingland: 51 north, 15 south and 20 on sea, Nov 7th; 50 north, Nov 10th. Southwold: 30 north, Nov 9th; 110 north, Nov 10th. Minsmere: 27 north, Nov 7th; 22 north, Nov 22nd. Thorpeness: 26 north and five south, Nov 22nd; nine north and 12 south, Dec 31st. Landguard: 21 north and six south, Nov 8th; 25 north, Dec 23rd Away from the immediate coastline, two were in Lowestoft Docks, September 26th, with one also present there on December 5th, 7th and 22nd, while one was on the River Orwell ranging between Wherstead and Freston from December 5th to 26th. KING EIDER Somateria spectabilis Accidental. Kessingland: first-summer male, Sep 12th (C Darby), then Dunwich, Minsmere and south to Thorpeness, Sep 12th to Nov 16th First photographed drifting south with the tide off Benacre Sluice on the morning of September 12th, this Arctic-breeding seaduck was a welcome addition to the C o u n t y ' s avifauna. It subsequently found its way on to the Suffolk lists of numerous birders as it spent the next nine weeks moulting into second-winter plumage on the sea between Dunwich and Thorpeness, often very close inshore. The 'bird of the year' for many. See page 14 for description and full article. LONG-TAILED DUCK Clangula hyemalis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. The second successive poor year and, with a total of just nine individuals, the lowest since 2006. Kessingland: female north, Nov 22nd. Sizewell: female drifted south close inshore, Nov 25th. Thorpeness: north, Nov 28th. Orfordness: female, Nov 12th to Dec 31st.




Felixstowe: three (two males), Dec 1 st. Landguard: north, Mar 6th. Stour Estuary: Jan 17th (WeBS count). COMMON SCOTER Melanitta nigra Declining non-breeding resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Red ยกist. Kessingland North South Thorpeness North South Landguard North South













105 91

93 25

15 18

42 9

85 7

61 15

7 98

82 43

116 138

112 45 \ : -

23 13

17 6

21 14

35 8

48 0

20 19

65 29

79 137

41 33

43 148

170 868

58 90

0 0

0 0

0 0

0 16

23 0

0 10

2 27

39 241

87 71

56 40

99 114

3 5

Accumulated monthly totals from Kessingland (Paul Read), Thorpeness (Dave Thurlow) and Landguard Bird Observatory are shown in the table. In addition, principal movements were well-monitored from various other watch points along the whole length of the coastline, with peak numbers recorded on four dates, namely August 23rd and November 7th, 8th and 28th. All significant counts are listed below:Gorleston: 70 south, Nov 8th; 60 south, Nov 28th. Hopton-on-sea: 115 south, Jul 23rd; 50 on sea, Dec 26th. Corton: 50 south, Aug 23rd. Lowestoft: Ness Point, 50 south, Jul 29th. Kessingland: 31 north and 25 south, Jan 12th; 100 on sea, Jan 17th, 18th and 24th; 44 north, six south and 83 on sea, Feb 2nd; 53 north, Jun 13th; 14 north and 74 south, Sep 28th; 60 on sea, Dec 28th. Southwold: 120 south, Aug 13th; 120, Aug 23rd. Walberswick: 85 on sea, May 25th. Dunwich: 50 on sea, Jan 31st; 80 on sea, Jul 27th. Minsmere: 50 south, Jul 14th; 81, Oct 7th; 200 south, Nov 8th; 60 south, Nov 25th. Thorpeness: 25 north and 27 south, Jul 11th; 31 north and 70 south, Aug 26th; 49 north and 124 south, Nov 7th; 242 south, Nov 8th; 50 north and 162 south, Nov 28th. Slaughden: 250 south, Aug 23rd; 95 north, Nov 7th. Orfordness: 60 south, July 14th. Felixstowe: 52, Dec 1st. Landguard: 86 south, Aug 23rd. Away from the immediate coastline, records were received from the Aide/Ore, Orwell and Stour estuaries, and there was one inland record in October. Havergate Island: two over, Apr 21st. Orwell Estuary: two, Dec 19th (WeBS count). Woolverstone: River Orwell, female, Dec 26th. Trimley St Martin: River Orwell, Dec 4th and 5th. Stour Estuary: six, Feb 23rd (WeBS count); two, Dec 14th (WeBS count). Little Cornard: Mere, Oct 15th. VELVET SCOTER



Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first winter period saw an extremely poor showing totalling just three records. Dunwich: Jan 31st Minsmere: south, Jan 8th Thorpeness: three south, Feb 12th In the second winter period there was a significant influx, beginning with three off Minsmere, October 9th. Regular sightings of up to four then followed from a number of


Suffolk Birci Report


coastal sites until the end of the year. The peak day-count was of 11 south off Landguard, December 23rd, the highest in the County since 13 were seen off Minsmere, September 19th, 1994. Lowestoft: Ness Point, south, Dec 18th. Kessingland: three north, Nov 9th. Dunwich: male south, Oct 24th. Minsmere: three, Oct 9th; two north, Oct 14th; three south, Nov 8th; female on sea, Dec 20th and 22nd; two on sea, Dec 30th; on sea, Dec 31st. Thorpeness: south, Oct 29th; three south, Nov 8th; north, Nov 9th; south, Nov 13th; three north, Dec 12th; south, Dec 21st; two north, Dec 31st. Slaughden: three, Oct 30th; Oct 31st. Shingle Street: four on sea, Nov 16th. Felixstowe: two, Dec 1st. Landguard: north, Oct 16th; north, Oct 21st; three north, Dec 1st; 11 south, Dec 23rd. Holbrook: Stour Estuary, two, Dec 26th; three, Dec 31st Stutton: Stour Estuary, two, Dec 4th to 14th; Dec 19th to 21st; two, Dec 23rd; Dec 24th and 26th. C O M M O N G O L D E N E Y E Bucephala clangula Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Although widely reported from the Jan Feb Mar Nov Dec east of the County during both winter Aide/Ore Estuary 9 1 1 15 3 periods, other than those in the table 26 Deben Estuary 11 5 18 0 the only significant count was of ten at Orwell Estuary HW 1 12 30 11 6 Benacre Broad, February 13th. There Orwell Estuary LW 71 32 2 was a very late record of a female at Alton Water 14 15 13 6 Hen Reedbeds, May 9th. None was Stour Estuar)'HW 115 39 0 2 0 then seen until one flew south off Stour Estuary LW 114 W: pi' 82 132 Minsmere, September 28th. Lackford Lakes* 9 12 10 8 15 A total of 32 flew south past * monthly maxima HW = High Water LW =Low Water Landguard on six dates between September 30th and November 21st, with a maximum of 19 on November 8th. S M E W Mergellus albellus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Two successive very cold winters resulted in the best year for this much sought-after sawbill since 1997. Records in the first winter period, including a peak of nine at Minsmere, January 30th, were as follows:Benacre Broad: three (one male), Jan 25th; redhead, Jan 27th. Minsmere: 1-5 regularly in January with maximum of nine (three males) on 30th; 1-6 (two males) regularly in February; 1-2 (one male) regularly in March until 21st. Havergate Island: Jan 29th; two, Feb 12th; Feb 21st; two, Feb 22nd (all redheads). Deben Estuary: Feb 21st (WeBS count). Landguard: three redheads south, Feb 10th. Alton Water: redhead regularly Jan 19th to Feb 13th; three (one male), Feb 15th. Lackford Lakes: two redheads, Jan 31st. The influx in the second winter period was even more widespread following the first at Minsmere, November 22nd, although it included only one adult male. The maximum count, a flock of ten at Minsmere, December 22nd, is the largest gathering in the County since 25 were at the same site on February 18th 1996. Easton Broad: five redheads, Dec 23rd. Minsmere: four redheads, Nov 22nd and then one regularly Nov 28th to Dec 11th; two (one male) regularly Dec 12th to 21st; ten (one male), Dec 22nd; 3-8 (one male), Dec 23rd to 31st. Orfordnfss: King's Marshes, redhead, Nov 27th. Bawdsey: East Lane, redhead Dec 4th.




Melton: Fishing Lakes, redhead, Nov 23rd. Deben Estuary: two, Dec 19th (WeBS count). Martlesham: Creek/River Deben, redhead, Dec 9th to 23rd. Levington: Creek, redhead, Dec 25th. Trimley Marshes: Reservoir, redhead, Dec 13th. Wherstead: River Orwell, two, Dec 24th; Dec 26th and 28th (all redheads). Shotley: River Orwell, redhead, Dec 26th. Alton Water: redhead, Dee 4th to 14th. Fritton: River Waveney, redhead, Dec 7th. RED-BREASTED M E R G A N S E R Mergus senator Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Orwell Estuary Stonr Estnary

Jan 26 15

Feb 54 46

Mar 4 0

Apr 0 35

Sep 0 1

Oct 0 3

Nov 3 112

Dec 84 112

Maximum counts from the Orwell and Stour Estuaries, the main wintering sites, are summarized in the table. With very cold weather predominating in both winter periods, numbers on these two estuaries were significantly higher than normal. Indeed the low water WeBS counts on the Stour Estuary in November and December are the highest in the County since 1979, when there was a peak count of 169 on the Orwell Estuary, March 4th. There were two April records, namely one south past Kessingland, 4th and a count of 35 in Holbrook Bay on the Stour Estuary, 8th, and one summer record involving a female off the south shore of Breydon Water, June 8th. The first of the autumn was one on the September WeBS count on the Stour Estuary, 19th. Offshore passage began with one north off Kessingland September 25th, and peaked with a pronounced southerly movement during strong south-easterly winds on November 8th, when 42 were logged offThorpeness, 37 off Minsmere and 25 off Landguard. The only other count to reach double-figures was of 25 south off Southwold, November 17th. GOOSANDER Mergus merganser Locally fairly common winter visitor and passage Lackford Lakes

Jan 10

Feb 12

Mar 18

migrant. Apr 2

Sep -

Oct Nov Dec 1 6 6

Maximum counts from the main wintering site at Lackford are summarized in the table. Other records in the first winter period came f r o m : Lowestoft: Lake Lothing, male, Jan 11th. Kessingland: male north offshore, Jan 25th. Benaere Broad: two (one male), Feb 17th. Minsmere: redhead, Jan 31st; two (one male), Feb 6th. Deben Estuary: Feb 21st (WeBS count). Ipswich: River Orwell, male, Jan 10th and 12th. Alton Water: male, Jan 1st; five, Jan 2nd; redhead, Jan 3rd; four (one male), Jan 5th; Jan 17th; two, Jan 24th. Stour Estuary: Holbrook Bay, three, Jan 25th. Lound: Waterworks, redhead, Mar 21st. Oulton Broad: male, Jan 5th. North Cove: River Waveney, male, Jan 5th; redhead, Feb 27th. Flixton GP: redhead, Mar 14th. Weybread GP: redhead Jan 2nd to 5th. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, redhead, Jan 10th. Stratford St Mary: four, Apr 2nd. Lakenheath Fen: redhead, Mar 22nd and 30th.


Suffolk Birci Report


Santon Downham: male, Jan 24th Thetford: Little Ouse River, two (one male), Jan 17th. Nunnery Floods, redhead, Mar 17th; two (one male), Mar 24th. Apr 19th. West Stow: Country Park, four, Jan 21 st. Nayland: male, Jan 16th. Breeding was not reported this year, although there was a single summer record of one at Thetford, June 4th. There were no further records until two redheads were seen on The Scrape at Minsmere, October 17th. This signalled the start of a major influx with birds more numerous and widespread than usual. The highest count of the second winter period was of 12 redheads at Alton Water, December 4th and 5th. All records received for this period are listed below;Lowestoft: Lake Lothing, redhead, Dec 14th. Kessingland: south offshore, Nov 13th and 26th; redhead north, Dec 27th. Covehithe: redhead on the sea, Dec 5th. Southwold: Boating Lake, redhead, Dec 5th. Reydon: Fishing Lakes, two redheads, Dec 6th. Dunwich: Dingle Marshes, six males south, Oct 23rd. Minsmere: two redheads, Oct 17th; redhead, Oct 20th; six south, Oct 23rd; redhead, Oct 24th; four south offshore, Nov 4th; male, Nov 16th; two redheads, Nov 18th; three north offshore, Nov 23rd; redhead, Nov 28th; three south offshore, Dec 2nd; redhead, Dec 27th; three (one male), Dec 28th. Sizewell: redhead south offshore, Nov 18th. Thorpeness: six south offshore, Nov 28th. North Warren: four (three males) south, Nov 24th. Snape: Abbey Farm, Nov 23rd. Melton: Fishing Lakes, five redheads, Dec 4th. Felixstowe: offshore, Dec 1st. King's Fleet, three redheads, Dec 14th. Landguard: south, Nov 5th, 8th and 22nd. Alton Water: six, Nov 27th and 28th; 12 redheads, Dec 4th and 5th; two redheads, Dec 8th; seven, Dec 10th; six redheads, Dec 11th; four redheads, Dec 12th; three redheads, Dec 14th; Dec 28th. Stour Estuary: two, Nov 15th (WeBS count). Burgh Castle: River Waveney, male, Dec 18th. St Olaves: River Waveney, three, Dec 2nd. Oulton: Marshes, Dec 12th. Oulton Broad: redhead, Nov 14th and 15th. North Cove: two redheads, Dec 27th. Weybread GP: three redheads, Nov 28th. Ipswich: River Gipping, Dec 31st. Lakenheath Fen: male, Dec 21st; Dec 26th. Sudbury: Common Lands, redhead, Dec 21st. Nayland: seven (two males), Dec 23rd. RUDDY DUCK Oxyura jamaicensis Uncommon resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Categories C and E. The sharp decline in numbers continues, with no records at all from the south-east of the County. Breydon Water: south shore, Feb 15th. Covehithe Broad: Sep 13th. Elveden: male, Mar 17th. Livermere Lake: male, Apr 21 st to May 2nd. Lackford Lakes: Sep 26th and Oct 5th. RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE Alectoris rufa Common resident; numbers augmented by releases. Categories C and E. Over 140 reports from 61 sites were received for this common and widespread game bird. Fifteen reports related to birds that were breeding or had probably bred. By far the largest counts outside the breeding season were made in Walberswick where 265 were recorded on




January 23rd then 340 on October 2nd. Elsewhere, high counts were reported from Bowbeck, Bardwell (70 on January 1st) and Hawson Hills, Dalham (55 on February 17th). On the coast small populations at Landguard, Havergate Island and Orfordness are still just managing to survive with one brood of six chicks reported from Orfordness and the first successful breeding recorded at Landguard since 2003. GREY PARTRIDGE Perdix perdlx Formerly common resident, now localised. Red List. Categories A, C and E. This species remains extremely localised. However it was encouraging to note that 101 reports were received, an increase of almost 60% on 2009. Birds were recorded from 61 sites, an increase of 26 when compared with the previous year. Approximately 90% were from the west of the county. The largest counts were at Fornham St Martin (18, February 24th, 21, October 19th) and Great Barton (Queach Farm, 43, December 20th). There were only four reports of birds breeding or possible breeding. Reports were received f r o m : Pakenham: Puttock's Hill, pair and five juveniles, Aug 12th. Mutford: Marsh Lane Farm, two pairs and two juveniles, Sep 15th. Fornham St Martin: adult and three juveniles, Aug 22nd. Lackford Lakes: pair, possibly breeding, on various dates in May. COMMON QUAIL Coturnix coturnix Scarce summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. A further quiet year for this elusive species with only seven reports of singing males being received, probably relating to four birds. No reports of breeding were received. Gorleston: Beacon Park, June 7th; June 16th (Lowestoft Lounge Lizards). North Warren: Jun 23rd; in same area, Jun 25th (J A Davies, R N Macklin). Great Waldingfield: old airfield, June 30th and July 1 st (M Peers, D K Underwood). Stanton: July 17th (A Nairn). 2009 Correction: Brettenham: male calling, Aug 9th (D and M Carter) - observers corrected. COMMON P H E A S A N T



Very common resident; numbers augmented by releases. Categories C and E. Some 220 reports were received for this extremely common species from 75 sites. There were 17 records of breeding or probable breeding. The closely monitored site at North Warren recorded 55 territorial males, an increase of 20% on the relatively poor total for 2009. GOLDEN P H E A S A N T Chrysolophus pictus Scarce resident. Categories C and E. This species is probably under-recorded with its traditional breeding area being on private land. Only three reports were received, all from the same site, Euston, in the west of the county with up to three birds being recorded. Again there was no recorded evidence of breeding. Euston: two, Mar 12th (N Mason, P Whittaker); Mar 27th (Birdguides); Mar 29th (S Howell). RED-THROATED DIVER Cavia stellata Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Peak day-counts for selected months, with the dates on which the observations were made, were:In addition, a series of day-counts which topped 500 was made at Thorpeness by the ever-vigilant Dave

Jan 932 4th

Feb 849 12th


Mar 1528 13 th

Apr 35 15th

Sep 15 30th

Oct 26 13th

Nov 291 28th

Dec 2170 12 th

Suffolk Birci Report


Thurlow. They were as follows: 547, January 3rd, 573, February 21st, 875, March 1 lth, 970, March 15th, 1611, December 13th and 517, December 31 st. As can be seen from the above data, only one count exceeded 2000, in contrast with the previous two years when this figure was exceeded in both winter periods. Such vagaries are probably accounted for by the movements of this species' small fish prey. The relatively small numbers recorded in Suffolk in 2010 were reflected in the paucity of records received from the south of the county. The 54 moving north off Landguard Bird Observatory on December 19th was by far the highest total of the year for southern Suffolk localities - the next highest being the mere 16 birds off East Lane, Bawdsey, on March 13th. Eight individuals were reported on a total of seven dates in May but, in contrast with recent years, there were no June records. There was, however, a July record, with a single off Kessingland on 20th, and singles were seen on four dates in August. A sad note in the data received involved a badly-oiled bird in Seafield Bay, Stour Estuary, on January 3rd. With the highly controversial practice of ship-to-ship oil transfers continuing to take place off our coast we can only hope that such occurrences will not become more commonplace for this and other maritime species, but there is certainly the fear that it is "an accident waiting to happen." BL ACK-TH ROATED DI VER Gavia arctica Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Records for this species were even more greatly reduced by comparison with recent years than was the case with the previous species. It was thought that there may have been 80 birds seen in 2009, with due caution applied to take into account duplication, and the figure may well have been about the same in 2008 and even higher in 2007. So the estimated total of about 46 birds in 2010 is a considĂŠrable decline. Could observers' guilty consciences be anything to do with this? Some seasoned seawatchers often remark that Black-throated Diver is a very scarce bird off our shores, whereas other observers seem to see them rather frequently! Monthly totals were:Jan 8

Feb 8

Mar 5

Sep 9

Oct 6

Nov 8

Dec 1

In addition, an individuai flew north off Kessingland on May 1 lth. GREAT NORTHERN DIVER Gavia immer Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. In what was a relatively poor year for the species, the gathering of four, firstly at Alton Water on January 2nd and subsequently at various locations on the River Orwell from January 4th to February 19th, was particularly noteworthy. Quite a stir was created by these heavyweights and many observers had the opportunity to obtain close views of them, with one remaining until March 15th. The Stour estuary hosted three on its January WeBS count, with others off Stutton Mill on November 28th and December 4th. Offshore, numbers were down on previous years, with monthly totals as follows:Jan 3

Feb 1

Mar 4

Oct 2

Nov 4

Dec 2

Individuals presumed to have been on passage were singles off Thorpeness, Aprii 1 lth, Kessingland, May 19th and Southwold, September 18th.




NORTHERN F U L M A R Fulmarus glacialis Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Formerly bred. Amber list. As relatively recently as 2001 a bumper year was noted, with a combined sightings total of 6019, but, rather ominously, no year since has come close to equalling that total and we again saw a clearly marked decline in sightings in 2010. Orfordness observers, recording meagre totals, noted that "this species has now become a scarce bird" at the site and reports from other coastal locations did nothing to lessen the gloom. The monthly totals from the north recording area were as follows:Jan 6

Feb 38

Mar 53

Apr 133

May 115

Jul 4

J un 47

Aug 18

Sep 58

Oct 0

Nov 0

Dec 0

April was also the peak month in 2009, with a combined total of 409, which was far in excess of the 133 in 2010. In the south recording area the species was remarkably poorly represented. At Landguard it was noted on dates spanning March 6th to June 27th and August 2nd to September 29th, with a maximum for the year of five north and two south, May 2nd. Elsewhere in the south recording area only about 20 were seen all year, eight of which were noted on one day rather unusually over Havergate Island, on July 23rd. CORY'S SHEARWATER Calonectris diomedea Rare passage migrant. The eight records listed below probably refer to four individuals, although some observers considered that the records from Southwold on successive days may have related to just one bird. In any event, this remains a rarity off our shores and since the 17 noted in 2003 no intervening year has amassed anything like such a total. Corton Cliffs: north, Sep 4th (JA Brown) Kessingland: Aug 23rd (R Darby, P Read) Southwold: Aug 23rd (R Drew, D Eaton, R Marsh, L G Woods); Aug 24th (N Mason, M Riley, P Whittaker); north, Sep 4th (B J Small) Slzewell: north, Sep 4th (JH Grant) Slaughden: Aug 23rd (S Abbott); north, Nov 7th (J Davies) The bird at Southwold on August 24th came very close to the shore, just beyond the pier. The bird tracked north from Sizewell to Corton Cliffs on September 4th clearly illustrates the value to observers of the BINS information service - it has proved to be a positive boon to seawatchers, and observers in general for that matter. The Slaughden individual was remarkably late, although not Suffolk's latest ever. That accolade is retained by one off Kessingland on November 10th, 2001. SOOTY SHEARWATER



Uncommon passage migrant. Amber list. The first of the year was reported off Hopton-on-Sea, August 4th, with the last of the year being noted o f f N e s s Point, Lowestoft, November 9th. By recent standards it was a rather unexceptional year for this impressive oceanic traveller from the southern hemisphere, but it is as well to take into account its relative rarity until just a few years ago. The table below shows the monthly totals, although it inevitably contains some duplication of sightings:-



shearwater Su Gough

Suffolk Birci Report


The year's peak day-count was ten off Southwold on September 19th.

Aug 12

Sep 63

Oct 10

Nov 2

M A N X SHEARWATER Puffinus puffinus Uncommon passage migrant. Amber list. A remarkably poor year for this species off our coast seemed like a throw-back to the days before Suffolk seawatching first became so populär in the 1980s. The first was seen off Thorpeness on May 3rd and the last was seen off Orfordness on October 16th - the latter bird being Orfordness's only record of the year. The table below showing the monthly totals may well include some duplication of records, thus making it even more of a disappointing year:May 5

Jun 10

Jul 2

Aug 8

Sep 4

Oct 1

BALEARIC SHEARWATER Puffinus mauretanicus Rare, but nearly annual, passage migrant. Critically endangered. Red list. As with the previous species, a poor year - but to put it into context, Suffolk's first records were as recent as 1998. This year's only record concerned an individuai off Landguard, September 6th (P Oldfield), which is only the site's second record. LEACH'S STORM-PETREL Oceanodroma leucorhoa Scarcepassage migrant. Amber list. Another seabird putting in a poor show in 2010, the individuai listed below being the only storm-petrel to be reported in the county throughout the year. Southwold: north, Nov lOth (P Whittaker). NORTH E RN G ANN ET Morus bassanus Common passage migrant. Amber list. In recent years, June, July and August concentrations off our coast have been particularly marked, but in 2010 during this period it was not until the latter month that numbers increased noticeably. This may be accounted for by the wanderings of fish stocks in the North Sea, or perhaps some other factor. However, what the table below clearly indicates is that, once again, the species' northward spring surge took place in March, although autumn passage was not especially pronounced. The table shows the monthly totals reported in the county, excluding those from Landguard - from where monthly data were not received - and it should be remembered that duplication within the figures is inevitable: Combined Peak day

Jan 54 8

Feb 149 22

Mar 2362 392

Apr 720 158

May 216 16

Jun 254 120

Jul 157 27

Aug 1283 179

Sep 427 177

Oct 810 114

Nov 369 131

Dee 24 7

GREAT C O R M O R A N T Phalacrocorax carba Common winter visitor and passage migrant: has nested since 1998. The fascinating travels of GR4 C6, a green-ringed female ringed at the Mageoerne colony in Denmark, 55.35N, 10.07E, have been outlined by Suffolk's Cormorant watcher-in-chief Robin Biddle. The story illustrates how enlightening the reporting of such marked individuali can be. With more than 70 sightings reported since the bird was ringed on June 3rd, 2000 an endearing picture of site fidelity on either side of the North Sea has emerged. Its first UK sighting was at Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, in April, 2001 and the bird




had returned to its natal colony in May, 2002. It was at Cley, Norfolk, on August 21st that year and there followed four sightings back at the Danish colony between May 27th, 2003 and May 14th, 2005. It was back in Suffolk, at Alton Water, on September 19th that year but had returned to its natal area in May, 2006 before reappearing at Loompit Lake (and Mistley, Essex) from September 24th, 2006 to February 1st, 2007. There followed more criss-crossing of the North Sea in subsequent years and, for 2010, its first sighting was at Loompit Lake on January 30th, with wanderings to Havergate Island in March before it was seen at the Danish colony from April 22nd to May 5th. Being a creature of habit, it was hardly surprising it was back at Loompit Lake on September 28th staying at least until the year's end. At the breeding colony at Loompit Lake, Robin Biddle counted 113 nests (123 in 2009) and provided a "guesstimate" that about 200 young were raised, a similar total to that in 2009. The largest counts of the year again involved birds flying over the Gorleston area and almost certainly related to individuals leaving the key roosting site of Fritton Lake to feed in the Great Yarmouth area. Impressive totals of 561 and 551 were noted on January 26th and March 10th respectively. In the autumn and second winter periods numbers rose steadily with 145 on October 11th and 170 on November 6th but reached an enormous 650 on December 20th, which is probably the largest count ever made in Suffolk. Elsewhere, the largest counts were 170 on Orfordness, April 18th, 341 on Havergate Island on March 14th, "350+" at East Lane, Bawdsey on December 25th, 360 at Loompit Lake, December 14th with "nearly 400" (the highest total ever recorded there) flying in to roost on December 25th, and "150+" in Ipswich Docks, January 9th. EUROPEAN SHAG Phalacrocorox aristotelis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Traditionally most often encountered in the depths of winter, this species provided a few surprises in the summer months of 2010. A juvenile frequented Lowestoft's Ness Point area on July 28th and 29th and two were seen off Landguard on June 27th, with singles noted there on July 11th, 12th and 17th. More conventional sightings in Lowestoft, one of the key Suffolk sites for the species, involved up to four in the Docks and Ness Point area in January, although only one was seen in February, and that only on 8th. An autumn passage bird called in on September 19th and singles were then noted on November 27th and December 3rd, with two on December 9th. Other December records involved singles on 17th and 19th to 23rd, and two on 24th. In the central coastal area the species is usually only infrequently recorded so the records of four off Minsmere, November 28th, and singles off Thorpeness on January 3rd and October 7th, Slaughden on February 19th and Orfordness on February 16th and March 13th are noteworthy. In the south of the county, where wintering birds congregate more often, the Orwell Estuary held up to seven in January, with the last record from the first winter period being six in Ipswich Docks on March 14th. Two were off Bawdsey on September 30th, three were in Ipswich Docks on December 12th and the final report of the year was a single in Ipswich Wet Dock on December 26th. GREAT BITTERN



owty increasing breeding population, scarce resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Red list. Nationally, this iconic reedbed specialist showed a further increase in 2010 to 87 booming males, up from 82 in 2009, with a total of 41 active nests being confirmed by RSPB reS r f k ° h e r S ' H o w e v e r > 0 , 1 a l o c a l l e v e l > only 11 nests were confirmed in the Suffolk coastal reedbeds, the lowest number for more than a decade. This decline may have been attributable to a combination of a cold winter in 2009/2010 - the coldest in the UK since 1978/79 - and one of the driest springs of recent years which resulted in low reedbed water levels.


Suffolk Birci Report


The RSPB researchers established that seven Suffolk coastal sites held a total of 26 boomers, a decline of two from the previous year's record total. The largest drop was at Walberswick, which held five boomers compared with eight the previous year. There were also slight déclinés at Minsmere and North Warren, with both sites being one down from 2009. The total of 11 nests is three down on 2009 and represents a 45 per cent drop from a peak of 20 in 2003. The number of nests at Minsmere recovered to five, compared with three in 2009, but, for the first time in a decade, there were no nesting attempts at North Warren. In the west of the county, however, Lakenheath is going from strength to strength. After its début as a nesting bird on the RSPB reserve in 2009, when there were four boomers and four nests, 2010 saw an increase to six boomers and five nests. Clearly, this site is becoming increasingly i important for this species' Fenland population. As would be expected, the species was frequently encountered in both winter periods at reedbed sites in the north-east recording area, although a report of one "stalking" across a flooded lawn in an observer's garden at St Olaves on March 3rd was eye-catching. Bittern Peter Beeson In the south-east recording area a series of records in the first winter period gives an indication that cold weather movements had taken place. Up to three at Trimley Marshes, January 3rd to April 1 st, were noteworthy as were singles at Melton, March 19th, Alton Water, January 27th, Pipps Ford February 8th and Needham Market, February 12th and 13th; presumably the same bird was involved in the sightings at the latter two sites. CATTLE E G R E T Bubulcus ibis Very rare visitor. Baylham: Nov 2nd and 3rd (A Rayne et al.).

Cattle Egret Su Gough




This bird moved Suffolk's total for this species on to six records involving eight birds. It was seen well amongst cows feeding in fields adjacent to the River Gipping. LITTLE E G R E T Egretta garzetta Locally common and increasing resident and passage migrant. Amber list. The well-documented surge of records of this diminutive heron over recent years shows no signs of abating and it would appear that the species can be encountered in virtually any parish in the county and in any month of the year. The geographic spread of records is quite remarkable - for example, reports came from an impressive total of 3 8 sites in our western recording area, with all months being represented and the area's peak count being eight at Mickle Mere, May 30th. One feeding in a horse paddock at Milden on February 7th must have sparked some initial thoughts of Cattle Egret! More than 400 reports were amassed in our southern recording area alone, including an impressive 120 on the Suffolk shore of the Stour Estuary in October. This area is becoming progressively more significant for the species, as illustrated by the following monthly m a x i m a : Jan 9

Feb -

Mar Apr 2 5

Aug 42

Sep 34

Little Egret Su Gough

Oct 120

Nov 36

Dec 1

Two other counts were especially eye-catching. A total of 77 was amassed at Cattawade, October 10th, and 90 gathered at Alton Water on November 27th. Other selected noteworthy counts from the south-east recording area included 22 at Erwarton Park, October 11th, 20 at Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, on the same date, and 16 at the latter site on September 12th. Havergate Island's long run of records peaked at 18 on June 20th. Visible migration was noted at several sites. At Landguard singles flew north on January 3rd and 7th. A total of 19 was noted at Landguard on ten dates between May 1st and November 24th, with a maxima of four, south, September 12th and four, north, October 11th. At Lowestoft, five flew north along the North Beach on September 18th. Monthly maxima from selected sites show a relative scarcity in the winter months and, particularly at Orfordness, what was presumably post-breeding dispersal and build-up in late summer:Minsmere North Warren

Jan 0 2 5

Feb 0 3 4

Mar Apr May 2 6 5 10 12 12 6 6 10

Jun 12 4 8

Jul 1 12 27

Aug 4 10

Sep 1 4 15

Oct Nov Dec 6 2 5 1 2 2 0 10 10 6

The only reference to breeding, that was submitted in the records received, concerned 12 nests at the Hen Reedbeds, although no indication of breeding success was given. GREAT (WHITE) E G R E T Ar dea alba Rare, but increasing, visitor. Widely tipped as a potential colonist, this impressive heron put in the now-expected level 0 appearances during the year. There is inevitably a degree of duplication in the following reported sightings:-


Suffolk Birci Report 2010 Gunton: south-east, Sep 19th (Lowestoft Lounge Lizards), south-east, Nov 28th (Lowestoft Lounge Lizards). Carlton Marshes: Oct 12th (C Mutimer). Kessingland: Sewages Works, Oct 9th (C Darby). Hen Reedbeds: two, Mar 26th (SWT); Apr 16th (N Skinner); two, May 13th (N Skinner); Nov 16th (SWT). Dunwich: Dingle Marshes, Apr 21 st (SWT); Nov 16th to 23rd (SWT); Dunwich Heath, north, Nov 27th (R Drew). Minsmere: July 5th (JH Grant); Oct 9th (R Harvey); Oct 11th, (P Heath); two, Oct 12th (R Drew); Oct 15th to 30th (R Harvey). Sizewell: Jan 8th and 18th (C Powell). Thorpeness: Meare, Jan 29th (D Thurlow); Oct 12th (LG Woods). Orfordness: two, Mar 14th (M Marsh, D Crawshaw). Sudbourne: two, Mar 14th (presumed same as above). Gedgrave: two. Mar 14th (I Castle) (presumed same as above). Havergate Island: May 24th (K Alexander). Iken: Mar 24th (D Wortley). Martlesham: two, north, Apr 7th (BINS). Landguard: south, Nov 24th (DT Langlois, N Odin), the third site record. Ipswich: May 22nd and May 23rd, north over Allen Road and Ravenswood estate respectively (BINS); Orwell Bridge, south-east, May 25th (BINS). Trimley Marshes: May 16th (P Oldfield); Oct 11th (BINS). Levington Creek: Oct 11th (BINS, presumed same as above). Lakenheath Fen: west, Feb 12th (RSPB); Oct 16th and 22nd (N Sills, K Puttick). G R E Y HERON Ardea cinerea Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Breeding was confirmed at eight sites, an increase of two over the previous year. In some instances no reports were received concerning the numbers of nest or young involved but the principal sites were West Stow, where there were 15 pairs, Flixton Decoy, where there were four nests, and the Hen Reedbeds, where there were six nests. Observers at the latter site concluded that the decline from 16 nests the previous year was attributable to the harsh winter. Offshore migrants were noted at several localities. At Landguard, observers noted the following run: singles south May 1st, "out then in" May 5th, "out then north" May 10th, "south then in" May 11th and "in o f f ' May 22nd. Autumnal movements noted at the site involved two north, 11 south and three "in o f f ' on 11 dates from July 13th to October 6th, with a maximum of five south, September 26th. At Orfordness, passage was noted in September with 13 flying south on 22nd and two coming in off the sea on 25th. The site's monthly maxima were as follows:Jan 3

Feb 2

Mar 2

Apr 6

May Jun 3 4 5


Aug 3

Sep 15


Nov Dec 3 1 2

Elsewhere, a single came "in o f f ' at Gorleston, September 2nd, five came "in o f f ' at Southwold, September 4th, and singles came "in o f f ' at Dunwich, September 13th and Minsmere, September 28th. The last clear-cut migrant was seen off Thorpeness on November 16th. The almost omnivorous diet of this species is well documented, but mammal lovers will be a little aghast at the news that a Water Vole Arvicola terrestris - a high-profile species for which much conservation work has been carried out - was seen to be caught and swallowed by a juvenile Grey Heron near Easton Broad on August 15th. PURPLE HERON Ardea purpurea Scarce passage migrant. Previous hopes that breeding may take place imminently in Suffolk appear to have been




rather over-optimistic. For the second successive year the species put in a somewhat disappointing level of appearance, with just two reports of what might even have been the same individual. Minsmere: first-summer, June 1 Ith (PD Green). King's Fleet: first-summer, May 27th (WJ Brame). WHITE STORK Ciconia ciconia Very rare passage migrant. These fly-over records, which must have been of the same bird, were the only ones received during the year:Bury St Edmunds: Apr 21st (D and K Fairhurst). Laekford Lakes: Apr 21st, same bird (I Goodall, SWT). GLOSSY IBIS Plegadis falcinellus Very rare visitor. Purple Heron It was a case of back to the old days as far as this species was Su Gough concerned as the events of 2009, when Suffolk had a glut of records related to the British and Irish influx of at least 37 birds, were not repeated. Indeed, the two records below - which require formal acceptance by BBRC - almost certainly involve just one individual. Southwold: Town Marshes, Oct 30th (C Fulcher, S Mayson). Dunwich: Dingle Marshes, Oct 23rd (JH Grant, SH Piotrowski, J Evans). EURASIAN SPOONBILL Platalea leucorodia Uncommon passage migrant. Now increasingly oversummers. Has overwintered. Amber list. The first report of the year concerned an individual that wandered in the North Warren, Aldeburgh and Hazelwood Marshes area from February 23rd to 27th. Minsmere and the Orfordness/Havergate Island areas retained their importance for this species, although once again there were no reported signs of breeding activity. These sites' monthly maxima, with undoubtedly some duplication involved, were as follows:Minsmere Orfordness Havergate

Jan 0 0 0

Feb 0 0 0

Mar 1 3 2

Apr 1 0

May 1 2 1

Jun 3 2 9

Jul 8 2 18

Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 4 0 5 0 0 0 10 19 3 1 1 19 12 2 1 0

Away from areas covered in the above table the highest counts received were four at Trimley Marshes, October 27th and three at East Lane, Bawdsey, August 16th. The December individual on Orfordness, first seen on December 10th, was said to have been elusive but "continued to be seen on a few dates into 2011". Of especial note was the one that flew north over Holly Road, Ipswich, on October 24th (R Attenbrow), which must have given the observer something of a shock given the urban nature of the surroundings. LITTLE GREBE Tachybaptus ruficollis Locally common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. A reported total of 19 sites held a minimum of 74 pairs. The respective totals for the three previous years were 14/79 in 2009,19/81 in 2008 and 17/c.94 in 2007. It almost goes without saying that these totals may not represent a true picture of the actual county-wide population. hey may well be largely the work of the same observers reporting from the same sites year a ter year and it will be interesting to note how these figures compare with the full-blown atlas work that has been taking place. Minsmere held the largest breeding population of any site, although its total of 25 pairs


Su ff Olk Bird Report


did not match its 2009 total of 38 pairs, which was a site record. Other notable breeding concentrations were nine pairs on the Benacre National Nature Reserve, ten pairs at the Hen Reedbeds, seven pairs at North Warren and six pairs at Thorington Street Reservoir. Notable post-breeding gatherings reported were 39 at Flixton GR September 26th, 26 at Thorington Street Reservoir, September 12th and 27 at Barton Mere, August 23rd. WeBS counts for two of the most important estuaries for this species were:Orwell Deben

Jan 38 64

Feb Mar 29 27 40 16

Sep 16 41

Oct 26 39

Nov 18 58

Dec 35 102

The December count of 102 on the Deben Estuary is only just below Suffolk's all-time record count of 109 on the Aide/Ore complex on Dec 12th, 2004. However, the number of Little Grebes on the Deben has dropped overall, taking an average over the last five years, meaning that it is no longer of national importance using the WeBS criteria. GREAT C R E S T E D GREBE Podiceps cristatus Locally common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. For the second successive year there was bad news from Alton Water, traditionally this species' breeding stronghold in the county. As was the case in 2009, only one chick was raised - the poor productivity was again probably attributable to the reservoir's falling water levels. Elsewhere, the picture was not quite so bleak. The total of 34 pairs frequenting 16 sites compared favourably with the previous year's total of 25 pairs at 13 sites. Alton Water's highest-ever count, 218 on November 22nd, 2009, was not matched but the site still recorded some of the county's highest totals for 2010. Notable monthly maxima from the reservoir were 66 on January 17th, 93 on August 13th, 126 on September 12th, 118 on October lOth and 139 on November 7th. The only other eye-catching total from an inland site was the 37 counted at Weybread GP on November 28th. Offshore numbers, as was the case with the divers, were relatively poor - indeed, January's largest flock on the sea was a mere 13 offThorpeness on 3 Ist. A total of 157 off the same Stretch of coast was a little better on February 21 st and the only other even remotely sizeable total in the first winter period was the 72 offKessingland on March 16th. The first bird of the autumn to be noted offshore was a single off Kessingland on August 16th and the paucity of records thereafter mirrored the first winter, with the rather unimpressive peak being 80 off Minsmere on December 15th. RED-NECKED G R E B E Podiceps grisegena Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Although some degree of duplication is probable within the records received, 2010 saw a slight but nevertheless welcome increase for a species which has undoubtedly become less common in Suffolk in recent years. Reports in the first winter period were as follows: Thorpeness: Mar 8th, 1 Ith, 13th and 19th. Landguard: Mar 28th. Trimley St Martin: Thorpe Bay, Jan 9th (same as below). Levington: Marina, Jan 9th, 14th and 2Ist; Creek, Jan 27th. Erwarton: Jan 28th. Reports in the second winter period were as follows:Corton: Nov lOth. Kessingland: Nov 7th. Minsmere: Nov 7th.




Thorpeness: Dec 7th and 31st. Bawdsey: East Lane, Sep 20th, 21st, 25th and 27th. Oct 16th and 21st. Landguard: Sep 29th. In Suffolk, this species is rarely seen in its resplendent summer plumage so one in such finery flying south off Landguard on May 20th is especially worthy of note. SLAVONIAN G R E B E Podiceps auritus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The importance to this species of the Stour Estuary/Alton Water area, the J^". , Orwell Estuary and, to a lesser -j extent, the Deben Estuary, was . " -• ' _ . , ,„ . _ _ . -iir- — Red-necked Grebe Su Gough again apparent m the records received. Indeed, this species is becoming something of a rarity in our north-east recording area where in 2010 there was only one record - and that on the extreme fringe - with a single off the South Wall at Breydon Water on January 26th. Singles were noted on January 1st at Alton Water and Waldringfield, with the latter probably accounting for several other sightings at this site and nearby Kirton Creek until January 30th. January's peak in the Stour and Orwell areas was a quartet at Holbrook on 23rd and Lower Holbrook on 24th. In February twos were seen occasionally in the Orwell and Stour estuaries and, somewhat surprisingly, in Belstead Wood Park on 20th. The first winter period's peak count was seven at Lower Holbrook on March 14th, although it is impossible to say with certainty whether this was a gathering of over-wintering individuals, a mix of such birds and transient individuals or, indeed, an entirely additional passage group. The same could be said for the three at Lower Holbrook on April 8th. The first returning individual was seen at Alton Water on October 31 st. Thereafter records were somewhat scarce, with singles at Holbrook, November 18th and December 5th, and Alton Water, November 20th. However, the year ended on a high with eight in a tight-knit group in Holbrook Creek on December 31st. This is the largest group ever recorded in Suffolk. BLACK-NECKED GREBE Podiceps nigricollis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The fluctuation in the number of records from year to year in Suffolk has been referred to in previous editions of Suffolk Birds and 2010 proved to be one of the more productive. All records received are listed, although some duplication may be assumed:Lowestoft: Hamilton Dock, Jan 13th (Lowestoft Lounge Lizards). Kessingland: north, Feb 4th (P Read). Landguard: July 14th (N Odin). Trimley Marshes SWT: Apr 21st (multi-observer). Levington: Marina, Jan 10th to Feb 10th (multi-observer). Wherstead: Jan 17th (multi-observer); Fox's Marina, Jan 23rd (E W Patrick). Alton Water: July 17th (S Babbs). Stutton: Jan 23rd (M Nowers). Livermere Lake: juvenile, Sep 11th and 12th (M Offord, B Woodhouse).


Suffolk Birci Report


EUROPEAN H O N E Y B U Z Z A R D Pernis apivorus Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. There were just seven accepted records of this species in 2010. Unusually, there were no spring reports, though one was seen mid-June. The rest of the sightings were in late summer and into autumn. Corton Cliff: pale phase bird flew in off sea, 11,40hrs and continued south, Sep 9th (J Brown). Minsmere: high north, 12.45hrs, Aug 28th (J H Grant) ; south over car-park, Oct 2nd (R Drew). Landguard: in off the sea, Sep 1st (N Odin, P Oldfield, E W Patrick). Loompit Lake: Aug 4th (W J Brame). Lakenheath Fen: adult north-east, June 14th (D Balmer) ; Oct 2nd (J Rankin, M Fairley). BLACK KITE Milvus migrans Rare passage migrant. There was just one report of this species in 2010; a single bird over Ipswich in May. This brings the county total to 33. Ipswich: May 24th (M May). RED KITE Milvus milvus Uncommon but increasing winter visitor and passage migrant. Bred in 1996 and1997. Amber list. 2010 was a fairly typical year for this species. The number of reports continues to increase but despite the presence of pairs in suitable habitats during the summer months there was still no further evidence of breeding. The last time the Red Kite bred in Suffolk was in 1997, and it is a mystery as to why the species has not attempted to breed since that time. The 98 reports represent a slight increase on the 89 in 2009 and are significantly higher than the 54 in 2008. It was a quiet start to the year with just seven reports from seven sites across the county in January and February. Sightings increased markedly during March with single birds seen at seven sites in the north-east, four in the south-east and four in the west. These included one flying in off the sea on March 2nd at Landguard, which is only the seventh record for the site. What is likely to have been the same bird was seen at Saxmundham later that day. Other notable sightings included two birds together at Lackford Lakes, March 26th and at Lakenheath Fen two days later. During April there were several reports of single migrants moving up and down the coast. In addition two birds were seen flying east over Chelmondiston, April 17th and three passed south over Minsmere, April 29th. There were also reports of a single wandering bird from six sites in the west in April. On May 1st two were seen at Oulton Marshes; one of them was a wing-tagged bird which was also seen at North Cove. There were a further three reports from the north-east and from the south-east in May. In the west there were seven reports, including two together again, this time at Lidgate. Reports of single birds along the coastal margin continued into June, whilst in the west one was seen feeding on a Pheasant roadkill at Ixworth Thorpe. There were just four reports in July; two were present in the north-east and one in the south-east. Over in the west, two birds seen near Great Bradley were considered to be a pair straying over the border from Cambridgeshire. The only August records came from Felixstowe and Stradishall Airfield and in September single birds were seen at Henley and Cavenham Heath. In October one flew north at Oulton Broad and one was reported from Stutton Mill. Finally, there were three reports from December, all involving single birds at Somerleyton Park on two dates, Flixton and Sudbury. WESTERN MARSH HARRIER Circus aeruginosus Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Increasing numbers overwinter. Amber List. A shortage of co-ordinated roost counts from both winter periods meant that counts were




a bit sketchy this year and consequently totals were well down on recent years. Breeding success was rather mixed with some sites faring better than others. From the data available it seems likely a minimum of 80 birds was present in the early part of the year compared with 113 in 2009. The highest counts in January included ten at Burgh Castle, nine at Minsmere, eight at both Herringfleet Marshes and Orfordness, seven at South Cove and five at Westwood Marshes. The only notable count in February was a maximum of 15 at Minsmere. Likely spring migrants were noted at Gunton, where one flew in off the sea, April 26th; Landguard where one flew north, May 4th and Lowestoft where one flew south, May 16th. Breeding was confirmed at eight sites and suspected at a further two at least. A study of the Benacre - Easton Bavents area found 13 nests which produced 24 young, including two nests that fledged four each. However, it was a comparatively poor year at Minsmere, where four out of ten nests failed and a total of just 17 young fledged, compared with 23 young from 12 nests last year. Elsewhere, there were seven nests at Westwood Marshes and three territories at Hen Reedbeds. It was another record-breaking breeding season inland at Lakenheath Fen, where 34 young fledged from 13 nests, easily beating last year's totals of 26 young fledging from ten nests. Also in the west, birds were regularly seen roosting in a cereal field at Puttock's Hill, Pakenham, during the summer months. In early June three adults were present, and this number had risen to six by mid-July. Over the following month birds of mixed ages were seen and the number had peaked at ten by mid-August. Although there were six juveniles in this group there was no evidence of breeding and the likelihood is that they were recently dispersed individuals from Lakenheath Fen. During autumn single passage birds were noted at Lowestoft, Kessingland and Havergate Island. Singles were also noted flying past Landguard on three dates. Fewer birds were present in the second winter period; casual records show that around 60 birds were present compared with over 120 last year, though this figure is likely to be an underestimate. Notable counts included 14 at North Warren and 12 at Minsmere in November. The highest counts in December were seven at North Warren and four on Orfordness. HEN HARRIER Circus cyaneus Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Red List. The number of reports of this species increased for the second year running; the 206 reports received was very encouraging and significantly higher than the 146 in 2009. The estimated totals of 13-15 in the first winter period and 12-13 in the second winter period were about double the number reported last year and the highest since 2004. A high proportion of the reports in the early part of the year came from the coastal margins. In the north-east of the county up to seven birds were present, including at least two males. In the south-east records suggest three or four birds were present, including a single male. In the west four birds overwintered in the Brecks; three ringtails roosted at Berners Heath and a male roosted at Lakenheath Fen. Lingering birds were seen at several sites across the county into April. In the east a male was seen at Carlton Marshes, 14th, a single bird was at Boyton Marshes, 8th and a ringtail remained on Orfordness until April 24th. In the west one was seen at Lackford on two dates ÂŽ April. In May single ringtails were seen at either end of the county at Burgh Castle, May 16th and Erwarton Ness the following day. The first returning bird was a ringtail on Orfordness, September 28th closely followed by two ringtails at Minsmere, September 30th. During the latter part of the year up to eight were present along the coastal margins, but just two of these were males. A further five were present in Breckland, where up to three ringtails came in to roost on Berners Heath and a maximum of two males roosted at


Suffolk Birci Report


Lakenheath Fen. This is the highest number of roosting birds in the west of the région since 1999. Table showing estimated total number of wintering birds between 2001 and 2010:— Year lst winter period 2nd winter period

2002 33 12

2003 32 14

2004 19 12

2005 8 6

2006 7 4

2007 6 7

2008 10 6

2009 6 6

2010 15 13

MONTAGU'S HARRIER Circuspygargus Uncommon passage migrant. Formerly bred. Amber List. 2010 was another fairly average year for this species with just three having been accepted as seen in the county. A wing-tagged female first seen at Dunwich Heath late in Aprii eventually settled at nearby Minsmere until mid-May where it caused havoc by feeding on Avocet and gull eggs on The Scrape. There was a summer record from the west of the county at Cavenham Heath involving a male in late July. The following month a juvenile was seen flying in off the sea at Minsmere. Minsmere: female (same as Dunwich bird) present from May 3rd to 14th (Multi-observer); juvenile in off the sea, Aug 12th (J Evans, J H Grant, J M Gibbs). Cavenham Heath: maie July 3 lst (D Gomer, B Leport). FIELD NOTE The Minsmere Montagu's Harrier had a green tag on one wing and a yellow tag on the other, showing thaï it was ringed in the Auvergne in France. These tags are harmless, and do not impede flight, and by making it easier to track birds we can learn more about their movements. ¡an Barthorpe Harrier sp: Trimley St Mary, small harrier seen flying towards Trimley Marshes on Aprii 11 th. NORTHERN GOSHAWK Accipter gentilis Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Uncommon resident. Unsurprisingly the bulk of reports came from the west where this species has a small but stable population. Records came from eight sites, ail but one of these was in the Brecks. In February two were seen displaying at Olley's Farm, Thetford and an adult maie and immature maie were present there mid-month at least. In March two adults were seen at Mayday Farm, Brandon on two dates, a maie was seen at Barnham and another maie wearing "jesses" was seen in The King's Forest. In early Aprii three birds were present at Olley's Farm, including a displaying pair. Elsewhere, two maies were at non-forest sites in spring, including one seen displaying. The only other spring report came from Santon Downham in May. Breeding reports came from two sites; one pair was unsuccessful but the second pair fledged five chicks. The three female and two male chicks were ail ringed; subsequently one was found dead on the A11 near Croxton, Norfolk, and a second was released unharmed from a partridge pen at Icklingham. Later in the year a probable immature bird was seen near Lackford in October, and one was spotted sitting on a spoil bank on North Warren grazing marshes, November 14th (R Macklin). EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK Accipiter nisus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The 458 reports received in 2010 was a 14.5% increase on the 400 reports in 2009. 64



Reports came from a total of 182 sites, the highest number on record, easily surpassing the previous highest total of 156 in 2006. The total included over 100 records from Landguard Bird Observatory. B B S data show an increase of 21% nationally and a 12% drop regionally which is a complete reverse of last year's trend. Sparrowhawks were seen on six out of the 12 visits to Lavenham Railway Walks, twice as many as in 2009. A survey of the Benacre/ Easton Bavents area showed that numbers were similar to those in 2005, but a lot less than in 2000. Singles were seen at Landguard Bird Observatory on 31 dates between January and mid-May after which one to two birds were noted regularly up to the end of the year. These figures suggest this species is making a comeback in Suffolk after a recent decline. Confirmed breeding came from ten sites, with breeding suspected at a further five and Sparrowhawk Su Gough displaying birds seen at another seven. Productivity varied somewhat; at Capei St Andrew a pair fledged five young; at Melton Park Wood three chicks were raised but at Sutton Heath just one chick fledged. Prey items included a Dunlin taken on The Scrape at Minsmere; a Skylark at Chelmondiston and a Blackbird taken by a persistent female which returned to a feeding station at Ampton three times in an hour. Migrants included one in off the sea at Gunton Beach on October 28th.

COMMON B U Z Z A R D Buteo buteo Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant; increasing breeding population. The Buzzard is now well and truly established as a breeding species in Suffolk. The number of records from 2010 was well in excess of 600 and came f r o m 250 sites. The reports were evenly distributed across Suffolk, reflecting the extent of this species' colonisation across the county. Sites included Lavenham Railway Walks, where Buzzards were recorded on five out of 12 visits, the same frequency as last year. Surprisingly, the BBS data show a 6% decrease nationally. Confirmation of breeding came from 19 sites and was suspected at a further three, but this figure is undoubtedly an under-estimate and a more accurate number is probably somewhere between 120 and 150 pairs (see reference to ongoing study below). Soaring groups of Buzzards have become an increasingly familiar sight, both during and outside the main migration periods. Large numbers can gather together as early as February if the conditions are right. To illustrate this, 22 birds were seen in the air at the same time near Risby in mid-February, including a group of 15 soaring together. Eleven were at Elveden, March 17th. Other high counts which did coincide with peak migration periods included 14 drifting west at Carlton Colville and 13 mostly drifting north at Minsmere on April 8th. At Ashby ten were seen together three days later. During the autumn large counts during peak passage time included 16 at Minsmere and 14 over Nayland both on September 12th. Interactive behaviour included one seen mobbing a female Peregrine at Freston on rebruary 19th and one mobbing a Barn Owl at Belstead Brook Park, December 18th. rinally, one was seen sitting in a Cormorant nest at Loompit Lake on December 5th.


Suffolk Birci Report


FIELD NOTE A study of the Buzzard population in west Suffolk is now in its fourth and final year a n d has revealed just how widespread this species has become in this region. T h e tetrad-based study has found nearly 40 breeding pairs plus a further 127 pairs which are probably breeding (based on the BTO Breeding Atlas criteria). A full report of the findings will be published next year. C Gregory R O U G H - L E G G E D BUZZARD Buteo lagopus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. 2010 was a good year for this species, particularly during the autumn period when an influx involving several birds took place. Of the 27 reports received, eight came from the first part of the year and included up to two birds roosting at Waveney Forest, during February and March. The other record involved a migrant seen flying north at Blythburgh in April. Somerleyton: Mar 10th (Lowestoft Lounge Lizards). Frltton: Waveney Forest, one flew from Haddiscoe Island over forest to roost, 16.55hrs, Feb 1st (Lowestoft Lounge Lizards); one flew in from west to roost, Feb 3rd (J A Brown); two flew in to roost, one at 16.30hrs second at 16.43hrs, Feb 7th (Lowestoft Lounge Lizards); one flew in to roost, Feb 21 st (Lowestoft Lounge Lizards); one flew in to roost. Mar 6th (Lowestoft Lounge Lizards); one north, 12.55hrs, Mar 15th (P J Ransome). Blythburgh: north, Apr 22nd (R Drew). The autumn influx was pre-empted by a single bird at Minsmere, September 30th. Shortly afterwards at least three more birds arrived from mid-October and between October 13th and 20th singles were seen at eight sites along the coastal margin between Benacre and Kirton Creek. On October 20th two were seen together south of Easton Broad, from Potter's Bridge and the following day three birds were present at the same site. A single bird was also seen further north at Kessingland. The last submitted sightings were of a single bird near Reydon between October 23rd and 25th, which seems likely to have remained in the area until the end of the month. Finally, there was a late sighting in December, which was the wintering individual returning to Waveney Forest. Fritton: Waveney Forest, flew in to roost, 15.53hrs, Dec 19th (Lowestoft Lounge Lizards). Kessingland: Oct 21st (JTrew*). Benacre Broad: first-winter, Oct 13th (C A Buttle*). Reydon: Potter's Bridge, two present south of Easton Broad Oct 20th; three, Oct 21st; two, Oct 22nd; single Oct 23rd-25th (Multi-observer*). Southwold: Oct 16th (S Nixon). Minsmere: Sep 30th (R Drew et al.); Oct 16th (I Salkeld*); Oct 22nd (A Green, J H Grant, S Piotrowski et al.). Orfordness: Oct 17th (M C Marsh, G Stannard et al.); Oct 19th, (D Cormack, M C Marsh et al.). Havergate Island: adult bird, Oct 17th (K Alexander). Wantisden: Oct 18th (P J Merchant). Bawdsey: Oct 17th (N J Andrews). Kirton Creek: Oct 18th (J Zantboer). *Records accepted by SORC as part of an arrival, en masse. OSPREY Pandion haliaetus Uncommon passage migrant. Amber list. After last year's poor showing, 2010 proved to be a much better year for this passage migrant in Suffolk. A total of 37 reports was received, almost three times more than the 14 reports last year. Of these, 19 came from the spring period with the first arrival being a single bird flying south over Breydon Water, March 27th. What is likely to have been the same bird was seen at North Warren the following day. There were then 11 reports during 66



April from nine locations, all involving single birds. Migrants continued to arrive well into May, the last one being seen on May 30th at Lakenheath Fen. Burgh Castle: north over Breydon Water, May 24th. Breydon South Wall: south, Mar 27th. Kessingland: Sewage Works, north, Apr 27th. Minsmere: north, Apr 15th; south, Apr 20th; west, May 17th. North Warren: Mar 28th. Snape: west, Apr 1 st. Orfordness: south, Apr 4th; north-west, Apr 26th. Felixstowe: Mar 30th. Martlesham: Apr 3rd. Ipswich: May 14th. Trimley Marshes: north, Apr 27th. Trimley St Mary: Apr 4th. Stansfield: bird loitering around a fishing lake, Apr 17th. Lackford Lakes: Apr 19th. Lakenheath Fen: May 25th and 30th. A total of 18 reports came from 14 sites in the late summer and autumn period. Remarkably these included two birds wearing satellite-tracking devices. The first bird was seen in the north-east of the county in mid-September and roosted in the Benacre/ Kessingland area for two nights before moving on. The second was a first-year bird on its maiden migration, which was seen flying over Beccles (see below for more details). The first passage movement started in late August, when birds were seen at several coastal locations. After a short gap more migrants passed through the county around the middle of September, with just a couple of late birds reported towards the end of the month. The latest report came from Beccles where one was seen, October 7th. Hopton-on-Sea: south, Aug 24th. Burgh Castle: south, Sep 11th; bird bearing satellite tracking device flew south-east and roosted in Benacre/Kessingland Levels area, Sep 14th and 15th before heading south. Lound: Waterworks, Aug 24th and Aug 27th. Beccles: second bird bearing satellite tracker flew over Beccles, stopped at Sotterley and subsequently headed out to sea at Reydon, Sep 15th (see note below); Oct 7th. Hen Reedbeds: Aug 24th; Sep 11th. Minsmere: north, Aug 29th; south, Sep 15th. North Warren: Sep 12th. Aldeburgh: south-west, Sep 12th. Orfordness: south, Sep 26th. Waldringfield: Sep 12th. Stutton Mill: Aug 16th; Aug 25th. Lackford Lakes: Sep 29th. Lakenheath Fen: Sep 24th. FIELD NOTE According to Roy Dennis's website two satellite tracked birds were involved in these sightings. The Burgh Castie/Benacre bird was 'Morven' a female ringed as a chick in 2003 near Keith, Scotland. The second 'Spey', was a male ringed near Elgin, Scotland in July 2010. After leaving the British mainland at Reydon, Spey flew across the North Sea and arrived in the Netherlands over Weltevreden late morning. For more details visit http/; C Gregory

LESSER K E S T R E L Falco naumanni Kare vagrant; summer visitor to Mediterranean countries. This bird was possibly the find of the year; the stunning male was originally found on the 67

Suffolk Birci Report


afternoon of March 28th at Scott's Hall, near Minsmere. Shortly afterwards it flew towards Westleton where it was relocated on the R S P B ' s heathland area and delighted many observers for the next four days. This is the first accepted record of this species in Suffolk. A report of this event can be found on page 12. Minsmere: adult male identified, Mar 28th to 31 st (A Cook, J Torino et al.). C O M M O N KESTREL Falco tinnunculus Common resident. Amber list. There was a significant increase in the number of records of this species in 2010. It remains on the Amber list but, like the Sparrowhawk, reports suggest that Kestrel numbers are recovering. However. a survey of the Benacre/Easton Bavents area found that there were fewer sightings than in 2005 and it was much more common in 2000. On Lavenham Railway Walks it was seen on seven out of 12 visits, two more than in 2009. BBS data show that this species is continuing to decline in the East of England with a drop of 16%, whilst there was a slight increase of 3% nationally.Breeding was confirmed at 16 sites and suspected at a further three. Reports involving likely migrants included singles south at Landguard, September 21 st and 23rd, plus two south, October 8th, followed by one south the following day. Also around this time up to six were present on Orfordness, with eight there, October 3rd. RED-FOOTED FALCON Falco vespertinus Rare visitor. It was another quiet year for this species; with just four reports ali relating to the same bird passing south through the county one day in September. The bird, a juvenile, was seen by three observers passing over the Minsmere area. Dunwich Heath: juvenile south, 10.15hrs, Sep 12th (RDrew). Minsmere: juvenile drifted south, 10.30hrs, Sep 12th (J H Grant). Sizewell: Sep 12th (R Joliffe). MERLIN Falco columbarius Uncommon winter visitor andpassage migrant. Amber List. A total of 108 reports was received for this species, a considerable increase on the 69 in 2009. Reports carne from 36 sites, slightly higher than last year total of 31 but similar to the 2008 total of 35. Records suggest up to six birds were present during the first winter period; two birds in each of the sub-regions. Single birds were seen at several coastal locations during this period, notably Orfordness where two birds were seen regularly between January and March. The only reports from the west carne from Boxford where a male was seen on January lst and Puttock's Hill, Pakenham, where a female was seen, January 26th. In Aprii single birds were seen at Oulton Marshes, Eye, Orfordness, Wortham, Cavenham Heath and Puttock's Hill. A surprisingly early returning (or very late) female put in a brief appearance on Orfordness, June 13th, but there were no further sightings there until August when a male was seen on three dates. This bird was joined by a juvenile at the end of the month. Elsewhere, a male was seen at Oulton Marshes, August 28th and a single was seen at Thorpe Bay, Trimley St Martin, August 15th. Sightings increased during September especially towards the latter part of the month; these included singles at Carlton Marshes, Minsmere and Sizewell. A female frequenting Sizewell Beach during this period was seen to catch a Pied Wagtail. Singles were also noted on seven dates on Orfordness and two were present, September 29th whilst nearby birds were also seen at Havergate Island and Bawdsey. In the west one was at Lakenheath Fen, September 24th. Passage birds included one south at Thorpeness, October lOth.




It seems likely that a similar number of birds overwintered during the second winter period judging by the reports from 13 coastal locations and four inland sites. Of these two were present on Orfordness in October and these are likely to have accounted for further sightings at neighbouring sites during that month. Elsewhere, one was at Dingle Marshes, October 25th. Birds became scarcer in November and the only reports came from Breydon South Wall, Orfordness, Landguard Bird Observatory, Lakenheath Fen, Ampton and Ixworth. A female was disturbed whilst feeding on road-kill at Sedge Fen, near Lakenheath. In December a male was seen on two dates at Breydon South Wall and a single bird on four dates at North Warren. Singles were also noted at Southwold and Snape. On Orfordness three were present, December 4th, then two a week later, with singles also being seen on two other dates. EURASIAN H O B B Y Falco subbuteo Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. The 351 reports received in 2010 represent a slight increase on the 335 received the year before; however, the number of sites was the same. Returning birds were first noted at Minsmere and Felixstowe on April 20th. These were followed by a further 24 reports during the month including one flying in off the sea at Gunton Beach, April 29th. Birds amassed quickly at several sites as the fine weather conditions resulted in large numbers of dragonflies and St Mark's Flies. At Lakenheath Fen the six present, April 22nd quickly increased to 44 by 28th peaking at 65 on May 1st. Numbers continued to increase into May and other large counts included ten at North Cove, May 1 st, 21, North Warren, May 7th and nine at G i f f o r d ' s Hall flood, Stoke-by Nayland, April 30th. Breeding was confirmed at nine locations across the * Hobby SuGough county; the number of pairs at Minsmere was down from three in 2009 to one in 2010, but two pairs bred again at North Warren, both nesting in old crow's nests. A survey of Thetford Forest found 21 pairs across Norfolk and Suffolk. This was the eighth successive year of the survey and the six chicks that were ringed brought the total number of pulii ringed to 74. There was no further information as to how many of these 21 pairs were in Suffolk. Nationally BBS data show a drop of 20%, compared to an increase of 21% last year. Attempted kleptoparasitism was witnessed in July when a Hobby tried to steal prey from a female Sparrowhawk, near Newmarket. Passage movement started during September and included sightings of three in off the sea FIELD NOTE Hobby ringing project - Thetford Forest Observers have been asked to note that the colour combination of the rings has been changed to a single dark blue ring with a white letter. Any sightings of ringed Hobbies would be greatly appreciated: please contact the Forestry Commission offices at Santon Downham - Tel: 01842 815544. John Seeker


Suffolk Birci Report


at Dunwich Cliffs; single birds hunting over the sea at Ness Point and Kessingland and three north at Covehithe. There were 16 sightings in October from 14 sites; the last birds were seen at Lakenheath Fen, October 13th and at Sizewell, October 14th. PEREGRINE FALCON Falco peregrinus Uncommon but increasing winter visitor, passage migrant. Has bred in recent years. Categories A and E. Amber list. The number of reports of this species continues to rise; a total of 251 records was received in 2010, compared with 181 in 2009. These came from 68 sites, slightly fewer than the highest-ever total of 72 in 2009. There was a familiar pattern involving a few long-staying individuals at favoured locations and perhaps indications that further breeding attempts may not be far away. Records suggest that at least nine birds were present during the early part of the year; six along the coastal margins and three in the west. Favoured coastal locations included Orfordness and Felixstowe Docks, both of which hosted long-staying individuals. On Orfordness the overwintering pair remained until April at least, while at Felixstowe a male was present from January until July. Nearby at Trimley Marshes a female took up residence between January and early April. Birds were also seen intermittently throughout the year at Lowestoft, where a first-calendar-year male was seen roosting on Lake Lothing grain silo. They were also seen at Bury St Edmunds, where another male was present at the Bury Beet Factory for most of the year. Other notable sightings included two birds on the Blyth estuary, February 19th and at Minsmere, March 4th. During April single birds were seen at several coastal sites, including two at Minsmere again, April 22nd. The pair on Orfordness remained until April 3 rd and an immature male was present there towards the end of the month. At Trimley Marshes the long-staying female was last seen on April 3rd and a male put in an appearance, April 24th. In the west single birds were seen at six sites. Fewer reports were received in May and June and these were almost entirely from coastal locations. The latter included confirmation that the pair had successfully bred on the Orwell Bridge again this year. The parents and four young were first evident from early June. The five records received in July included the long-staying individuals at Lowestoft, Landguard and the Bury Beet Factory. During August a possible passage bird flew in off the sea at Kessingland, 30th, but a report of another in off the sea at Bawdsey, August 29th may have involved one of the juvenile birds seen on nearby Orfordness on three dates that month. Sightings increased in September and included the Lake Lothing bird which was seen on three dates and the returning male at Landguard from September 1st. On Orfordness up to three were present towards the end of the month. In the west the male continued to frequent the Bury Beet Factory and a female was seen at Livermere Lake. During October reports came from 15 coastal sites and included singles on four dates at Minsmere, up to two on Orfordness and three different birds at Landguard. Single birds were also seen at three sites in the west of the county. It appears fewer birds were in the county during the second winter period; an estimated six birds were present involving five birds on the coast and one inland. Hunting behaviour was observed at Flixton, where an immature bird forced a Marsh Harrier to drop its prey, but despite four attempts the Peregrine failed miserably to catch it as it fell to the ground. Towards the end of the year at least one bird was observed targeting Starlings going to roost in the reedbed at North Marsh, Minsmere; a male unsuccessfully chased a leucistic Starling in November and one took two Starlings at the roost in December.




WATER RAIL Rallus aquaticus Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Recorded at 71 sites, compared with 41 in 2009, this often shy species was far more widespread in 2010. Reports of breeding, or probable breeding, were received from 19 sites, 12 more than in 2009. The largest numbers of breeding territories were recorded at North Warren, where a total of 40 calling males indicated a decline of 29% compared with the 2009 total of 56 pairs. Elsewhere breeding numbers were much as in 2009; Hen Reedbeds (33 territories) and Minsmere (25 territories and 57 singles). At Lakenheath Fen an estimated total of 30 territories suggested a fairly stable population. At Trimley Marshes, in September, up to seven Water Rails were seen when birders were hoping to catch a view of the Spotted Crake that was present. CORNCRAKE Crex crex Very rare passage migrant. Red List. The discovery of a dead juvenile bird following a collision with the wall of a cottage must have been a great disappointment as records of this scarce species are now so few and far between in Suffolk. Sutton: Sutton Hall Farm, juv found dead, Oct 27th (P Hind). It makes you wonder how many of these unfortunate instances occur. Mark Sly found a dead Corncrake outside his back door in Hollesley in the early nineties. Hollesley is only a couple of miles from Sutton. The last live bird is Suffolk was also found in the area, at Bawdsey on a Deben WeBS count, September 14th, 2008. SPOTTED C R A K E Porzana ponana Rare passage migrant; rarely oversummers. Amber List. Only one report was received of this shy and elusive species, a juvenile at Trimley Marshes. Trimley Marshes: Sep 18th to 24th (J Zantboer, D Pearsons et al.). COMMON M O O R H E N GallĂ­nula chloropus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. This very common species remains widespread throughout the county. Breeding or probable breeding was reported from 27 sites, an increase of seven on 2009. The largest breeding population was recorded at North Warren (53 pairs), a decline of ten pairs on the previous year, attributed to the cold weather of the previous winter. The results of winter counts at regularly monitored site are shown below:-

Minsmere Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary Lackford Lakes

Jan 5 21 28 21 26

Feb 1 17 12 13 22

Mar 10 27 25 10 28

Apr 9 13 -

19 20

Sep 5 15 16 4 22

Oct 4 23 27 6 15

Nov 10 14 23 116 25

Dec 1 18 3 VV 32

COMMON COOT FĂşlica atra ery common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. This species continues to be common in suitable habitat throughout the year. Breeding or probable breeding was reported from 26 sites. The highest counts were recorded at Alton Water (peaking at 456, Jan 17th); Thorington Street Reservoir (217, Dec 5th); Redgrave Lake (214, Jan 21st) and Lakenheath Fen (210, Sept 19th). There were 521 birds counted, m total, on the October WeBS count on the Orwell. That total and other winter counts at regularly-monitored sites are shown below:-


Suffolk Birci Report Counts from regularly monitored sites: Jan Feb 6 10 Leathes Ham 124 11 Minsmere 9 1 Deben Estuary 4 5 Stour Estuary 53 182 Orwell Estuary456 102 Alton Water 212 67 Lackford Lakes 132 Lakenheath Fen -

Mar Apr 12 iĂŻ 67 148 1 3 283 55 142 23 53 46 106


Oct 70 422 • SpSy. 521 310 322 367 194 231 210 66 Sep 70 98

Nov 85 23 -

1 468 278 213 61

Dec 87 3 0 -

22 266 S

C O M M O N C R A N E Grus grus Scarce passage migrant. Has bred since 2007. Amber List Following the first successful breeding record in Suffolk for around 400 years at the Lakenheath Fen RSPB reserve in 2009, a pair again raised one young at Lakenheath in 2010. Five birds were recorded intermittently at the reserve throughout the year, with a sixth bird reported on November 28th. Elsewhere there were 31 reports from 23 sites some of which may relate to the same birds. All these records are included below:Burgh Castle: south, 8:35am, Apr 20th. Fritton: Waveney Forest, six south, 9:50am, Mar 27th. North Cove: Castle Marsh, two circling and slowly drifting west, May 15th; two north. Oct 11th. Beccles: two over town mid-afternoon, later seen flying west, Mar 2nd. I Bradwell: two northwest, 12.00noon, Feb 25th; two southwest, 9:15am, Apr 20th. Mutford: two west over Ash Farm, 4:15pm, Mar 1 st. Pakefield: four drifting south-southwest from the beach, 10:55am, Apr 26th. Benacre Broad: two, circling overhead then south, 9:50am, Mar 2nd. A Reydon: Potter's Bridge, landed in the reedbed, 9:15am, Apr 23rd. Reydon: Smear Marshes, Apr 24th. Hen Reedbeds: three southwest, 1:00pm, Mar 21st. Minsmere: three south, Mar 27th; one landed on the levels then flew north at Common Crane 4:15pm, Apr 22nd; Levels, one south, 10:45am, May 2nd; one circling over the Su Gough levels for 15 minutes, May 3rd; one over, 6:10am, May 7th; two north, 10:00am, May 10th; five south and one north, May 11th; three, two adults and one immature, Dec 7th. Leiston : two north, 10:15am, Apr 9th. Aldeburgh: three south, 12.00 noon, probably the birds seen at Minsmere, Mar 27th. Butley: one over the village flying towards Staverton, 7:45am, Mar 29th. Trimley Marshes: two, May 30th. Landguard: north, also seen over Felixstowe promenade, Mar 15th. East Bergholt: Flatford three, same as at Cattawade below, Apr 13th. Cattawade: three, same as at Flatford above, Apr 13th. Fornham St Martin: two, Aug 17th. Cavenham Heath: two flying over, Apr 4th. Santon Downham: two adults, Apr 26th. y

EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus ostralegus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Common resident. Amber list. The highest site-count was 500 at Pin Mill, September 3rd. The highest inland count again came from Livermere Lake with 22 birds present on March 8th and 14th. Breeding records were received from 16 sites across the county of which seven were inland (12 in 2009). There were six pairs in the Benacre area. Orfordness had an estimated 22-26 pairs, but no recorded fledging success. At North Warren there were pairs on both




North and South Marsh, but chicks failed to fledge. Confirmation of fiedging was only received from two sites. Southward movement on the coast was again most evident at Landguard in July and August with 155 and 361 respectively, including 83, August 10th. Peak movement south at Orfordness was 37, August 7th. WeBS counts were as follows:Jan O'-i'iV 150 1178 713

Feb 156 113 560 228

Mar 55 186 624 249

Apr 45 198 331 288

Aug —

f e-, OC

Blyth Estuary Deben Estuarv Orwell Estuarv Stour Estuary

Sep 32 126 1204 500

Oct Nov 9 ;/ 125 111 1203 972 823 378

Dee 84 132 52 35

PIED AVOCET Recurvirostra avosetta Fairly common resident, summer visitor and passage migrant on the coast. Amber list. Breeding records were received from just six sites. At Minsmere, 34 young fledged from 110 pairs including the first successful fledging from South Levels (only nine from 110 pairs in 2009). There were 31 pairs (26 in 2009) on Orfordness with 18 young 'reared'. Inland, there were records only from Lakenheath Fen and Lackford Lakes, with no breeding behaviour reported. The Aide/Ore complex maintains its position as being of international importance while the Deben, Orwell and Stour are of national importance for wintering Avocets. WeBS counts were as follows:Avocet Su Gough

Jan Blyth Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary


306 120 .. 27

Feb 576 131 54 -

Mar 20 31 60 -

Apr Aug 0 2 13 8

Sep 7 27 20 5

Oct 128 67 106 -

Nov -

270 134 204

Dee 350 288 133 -

Counts of 200 and over other than WeBS were as follows:Minsmere: 202, A p r i 3th. Snape: 200, Jan 26th. Orfordness: 202, Dee 5th. Havergate: 655, Jul 25th; 300, Jul 30th; 250, Aug 2nd; 304, Aug 8th; 612, Aug 13th; 400, Aug 15th; 550, Aug 16th; 604, Aug 17th; 400, Aug 24th; 500, Aug 25th; 500, Aug 26th; 512, Aug 27th; 400, Sep Ist; 412, Sep 3rd; 304, Sep 5th; 240, Sep 6th; 551, Sep 7th; 712, Sep 8th; 500, Sep 17th; 400, Sep 25th; 612, Sep 29th; 770, Oct lOth; 412, Nov 23rd. ÂŤoyton Marsh and Butley River: 357, Jan 3rd; 500, Jan 17th; 650, Feb 2Ist; 617, Sepl9th; 328, Oct 3rd; 464, Nov 14th; 291, Nov 26th; 250, Dee 5th; 390, Dee 12th; 300, Dee 28th. Palkenham Creek: 466, Jan 3Ist. Hemley: 200, Nov lOth.


Suffolk Birci Report


S T O N E - C U R L E W Burhinus oedicnemus Locally fairly common summer visitor. Amber List. There were no overwintering birds recorded. The first record was a single in Breckland, March 13th and the final two birds were at Minsmere-Dunwich, October 25th. At Elveden 59 chicks were ringed, and at least 48 fledged successfully. On the coast six pairs raised nine young. The recent breeding development at Minsmere is as follows:Year Pairs Fledged

2002 0

2003 1 0

2004 1 2

2005 1 0

2006 1 4

2007 2 6

2008 3 6

2009 à5 7

2010 6 9

The maximum post-breeding gathering involved 75 birds at a Breckland site, September llth. LITTLE (RINGED) PLOVER Charadrius dubius Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. The first spring record was at Mickle Mere, March lOth, the earliest since 1997 (March 3rd, Trimley Marshes), but there were no further records until March 20th at Cattawade. The highest count prior to the breeding season was seven birds at Flixton Gravel Pits, Aprii 1 lth and again, May 9th. Confirmed breeding records came from only three sites, again totalling just five pairs. This species is now one of the scarcest to breed regularly in Suffolk. The last record of the autumn was a single at Trimley Marshes, September 26th. RINGED PLOVER Charadrius hiaticula Declining resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Present in every month of the year. Counts of over 50 in the first winter/spring period were:Breydon South Flats: (likely to include birds of the race "tundrae"), 101, May 18th; 198, May 20th; 192, May 27th. Landguard: 54, Feb 27th. After the 2009 breeding réduction to five sites supporting 16 pairs, 2010 resulted in six sites with 28 pairs:Kessingland-Pakefield: eight pairs. Benacre: six pairs. Dingle Marshes: four breeding pairs with fledging confirmed. Minsmere: single pair on the beach, unsuccessful. Orfordness: four pairs; one fledging young. Landguard: five pairs, unsuccessful. During the autumn/second winter period there were only two flocks over 5 0 : Thorpeness Haven: 115, Sep 28th. Levington Creek: 150, Sep 2nd. WeBS data:Jan Blyth Estuary Deben Estuarv Orwell Estuarv Stour Estuary


92 117 53

Feb 0 41 16 -

Mar Apr 0 0 11 1 4 2 4 4

Aug -

2 42

Sep 289 202 147

Oct 15 74 76 58

Nov —

37 235 42

Dec 0 43 9 2

EURASIAN DOTTEREL Charadrius morinellus Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. Sightings for the last ten years are as follows, ail of single birds except the 2007 record* where there were two birds:-


Systematic Year Spring Autumn








2004 1







2007 1*

2008 1 2


2010 1

Kessingland: Denes, male, May 17th to 19th (Multi-observer). EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER Pluvialis apricaria Common winter visitor andpassage migrant. Amber list. The highest single count of the year was 1200 at Great Waldingfield, November 18th. In addition, 1000 were at Mickle Mere, Aprii 4th. WeBS counts were surprisingly low, with 693 on the Stour Estuary in September being the highest. The June boundary between spring and autumn is shown by the following figures: May - seven reports, total 45 birds; June - three reports, total three birds; July - six reports, total 34 birds. However, there were birds present on Havergate in every month of the year, including a count of 600 on March Ist. WeBS d a t a -

Blyth Estuar) Deben Estuarv Orwell Estuarv Stour Estuary

Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr Aug 0 0 0 412 345 42 85 229 282 108 60 150 228 -

Sep 0 189 10 693

Oct 0 581 20 634

Nov -

584 105 280

Dee 0 225 -

The Blyth Estuary used to host several thousand Golden Plovers. GREY PLOVER Pluvialis squatarola Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Again the Stour Estuary provided the highest numbers, reaching 1884 on the October WeBS count. There was only one inland report, on Aprii 25th, when the surprisingly high figure of 62 birds was recorded at Lakenheath Fen (S Wiltshire) - this is the highest total ever recorded in west Suffolk. The June boundary between spring and autumn movement was even more apparent than for Golden Piover: May - 15 reports, total 39 birds; June - no reports; July - 15 reports, total 17 birds. The absence in June meant that Havergate failed to achieve a record for every month, although birds were present in ali the remaining months. WeBS data: Blyth Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary

Jan r 294 235 1351

Feb 11 209 191 294

Mar 30 282 43 410

Apr 0 22






Sep 0 145 0 1032

Oct 0 307 10 1884

Nov 316 165 650

Dee 0 196 60 162

NORTHERN LAPWING Vanellus vanellus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Declining as a breeding species. Red list. In contrast with the previous year, only one flock over 1000 was recorded during the first winter period, on Havergate. Counts of 200 or more were as follows:Benaere Broad: 650, Jan 24th. Blythburgh: 550, Jan 24th.


Suffolk Birci Report


Minsmere: Scrape, 405, Jan 29th. North Warren: 250, Jan 24th. Orfordness: 399, Mar 14th. Havergate: 1100, Jan29th. Butley River: 412, Jan 3rd. Trimley Marshes: 217, Jan 29th; 254, Feb 12th. Lakenheath: 200, Feb 5th. Great Livermere: 240, Mar 14th. Mickle Mere: 206, Feb 7th; 235, Mar lOth. Timworth: 200, Feb 7th. Farnham: Botany Farm RSPB, 230, Feb 17th. Higham (near Hadleigh): 200, Feb 23rd. An albino bird was present at Trimley Marshes on March lst and 4th (P Oldfield). Breeding was confirmed at Hen Reedbeds, Dingle Marshes, Minsmere (30 pairs), Sizewell SWT, Snape ( Abbey Farm), North Warren (18 pairs), Orfordness, Boyton Marshes, Trimley Marshes, Redgrave Lake, Barton Mere, Lackford Lakes, Lackford Bridge, Gifford's Hall, Mickle Mere, Shelley, Ixworth, and Norton. There were a number of additional possible breeding sites. Three-figure post-breeding flocks were recorded at the following sites:— Minsmere: 120, Jun 30th; 121, Jul 6th; 120, Jul lOth; 100, Jul 14th; 174, Jul 18th. Orfordness: 186, July lOth; 450, Oct 13th. Havergate Island: 123, Jul 4th; 174, Jul 18th; 100, Jul 30th; 110, Aug 8th. Foxhole Heath: 100, July 22nd. Cavenham Pits: 170, Aug lst. Fornham St. Genevieve: 300, Aug 15th. Great Livermere: 300, Aug 25th; 130, Aug 28th. Higham (near Hadleigh): 103, Aug 13th. Chelmondiston: 300, Aug 30th. Autumn passage and second winter flocks of 200 or more were as follows:Minsmere: 250, Oct 2nd; 242, Nov 19th. North Warren: 219, Nov 20th; 280, Nov 26th. Boyton/Butley Complex: 598, Nov 1 lth. Hollesley Marshes: 285, Nov 28th. Landguard: 282 south, Dee 3rd. Lakenheath Fen: 500, Oct 2nd. Lackford Lakes: 200, Sep lOth; 300, Nov 6th. Livermere Lake: 211, Sep 17th; 240, Sep 30th; 660, Oct 23rd; 300, Oct 24th; 300, Nov 18th. Little Livermere: 450, Oct 4th. Fornham St. Martin: 200, Oct 5th. Timworth: 200, Oct 5th. Chilton: 200, Nov 18th. WeBS data:Jan Blyth Estuarv Deben Estuar)Orwell Estuar) Stour Estuary


1377 516 794

Feb 159 500 73 170

Mar 171 216 185 202

Apr 0 17: 22 58

Aug -

\ •

37 269

Sep 0 611 38 115

Oct 60 557 109 322

Nov -

280 142 438

Dee 270 1037 347 112

RED KNOT Calidris canutus Locally common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The majority of significant records carne from WeBS counts, especially on the Stour Estuary:-


Systematic Jan Blyth Estuary Deben Estuarv Orwell Estuarv Stour Estuar}'

165 584 3157

Feb 400 32 615 97

Mar 15 32 117 500

List Apr 0 2

Aug -

5 8

Sep Oct 11 0 0 2 •'. Sii 646 10




70 1 642

; • : ~700. -


The only three-figure counts in the first winter period away from WeBS were:Blythburgh: Angel Marshes, 131, Jan 24th. River Deben: 150, Jan 18th. River Orwell: 260, Jan 9th; 230, Jan 23rd. Levington Creek: 520, Jan 21st; 350, Mar 13th. Trimley Marshes: 520, Mar 1st. Small groups (ten or less) were recorded during May, June and July at Minsmere, Havergate and other coastal sites. Apart from WeBS counts, the autumn/second winter period counts over 100 were:Minsmere Beach: 300. Thorpeness: 370, moving south, Nov 8th, presumably the same flock which flew over Orfordness. Orfordness: 323 south, Aug 23rd; 384 south, Nov 8th. Erwarton Park: 490, Oct 25th. SANDERLING Calidris alba Locally common winter visitor and passage migrant. All sightings were at coastal/estuarine sites, with no inland reports. Monthly maxima from the five most regular sites were:Gorleston Kessingland Minsmere Orfordness Landguard

Jan 5 21 1


; - :;v

Feb 2 4



Apr 5

1 3





Mav 4 É: 4 12 4






1 7 1

1 5 2 172

Sep 7 13 3 2

Oct -


Nov 1 10

Dec -



8 2







The very high Landguard count of 172 involved birds moving south on August 23rd - it is the highest total ever recorded in Suffolk. Other locations with counts of more than ten birds;— Burgh Castle Flats: 14, Apr 19th. Breydon South Flats: ten, May 20th; 14, May 27th. Lowestoft: North Beach, 12, July 17th. Walberswick Flats: 50, Nov 25th. LITTLE STINT Calidris minuta Uncommon passage migrant. Occasionally


Little Stint Su Gough


Suffolk Birci Report


An above-average series of records during the first winter period:Minsmere: two, Jan 22nd. Havergate: Feb 12th. Deben Estuary: Melton, Jan 4th; Feb 5th; Mar 8th, 15th and 18th - all probably the same overwintering bird. Stour Estuary: Seafield Bay, Jan 3rd. Spring passage was disappointing, with records at only three sites:Breydon South Flats: May 27th. Walberswick: Tinkers Marsh, May 23rd and 25th. Orfordness: May 22nd. Autumn sightings were as follows:Breydon South Flats: Oct 5th; two, Oct 7th; Oct 11th. Kessingland: two, Aug 30th; Aug 31st; Sep 7th; Sep 11th. Covehithe Broad: Sep 1st; Sep 18th. Southwold: Oct 9th; Golf Course, Sep 30th; Oct 3rd; two, Oct 10th. Minsmere: Seplst; Sep 6th; Sep 10th and 11th; Sep 28th; Oct 20th. North Warren: Dec 9th. Orfordness: three, Sep 4th; six, Sep 18th and 19th; Sep 25th. Havergate: five, Aug 10th; Aug 21st; two, Aug 22nd; two, Aug 24th; Sep 28th; Oct 7th. Landguard: Aug 23rd. Trimley Marsh: Sep 19th to 29th with maximum four, Sep 24th. Stutton Mill: Sep 10th. Lower Holbrook: Sep 15th. Livermere Lake: two, Aug 23rd, the only inland record. T E M M I N C K ' S STINT Calidris temminckii Scarce passage migrant. Red list. A good year, particularly on Orfordness. The Mickle Mere bird is the first inland record since 2006. Minsmere: May 2nd and 3rd (G Grieco); May 14th (I Salkeld). Orfordness: May 9th; May 15th; May 20th; May 23 (M Marsh, D Crawshaw); three, May 26th (D Crawshaw). Boyton Marshes: May 14th (P R Kennerley). Trimley Marshes: three, May 15th (P Oldfield). Mickle Mere: May 20th and 21st (M Otford, M Wright). P E C T O R A L SANDPIPER Calidris melanotos Scarce passage migrant. One spring and three autumn records were received. The spring record is Suffolk's earliest-ever and the first in April. Minsmere: two juvs, Sep 24th and 25th (B J Small et al.); with Curlew Sandpiper, Oct 5th (G J Jobson). Trimley Marshes: Apr 27th (J Zantboer); Sep 26th (E Lucking). C U R L E W SANDPIPER Calidris ferruginea Uncommon passage migrant. Again a wintering bird was present on the Deben at Melton, probably the same bird seen in November and December 2009 and in winter 2008/09. Melton: Jan 18th, 21st, 23rd, 24th; Feb 12th (G Grieco). Spring sightings came from four sites, probably involving only six birds:Breydon South Flats: May 20th. Walberswick: Tinker's Marsh, May 20th and 23rd. Minsmere: an early spring record, Apr 15th; May 22nd. Orfordness: May 23rd and 26th. A male in breeding plumage was present at Minsmere, July 1st (P and J Kennerley). Autumn records were received from twelve coastal localities and two inland sites:-




Breydon South Flats: three, Sep 2nd; 12, Sep 3rd; three, Sep 21st. Kessingland: two, Aug 30th; three, Sep 7th: two, Sep 10th. Blyth Estuary: three, Sep 3rd; five, Sep 4th; six, Sep 19th Minsmere: Aug 28th; two, Aug 31st; Sep 7th; Sep 22nd and 23rd; Oct 5th. Orfordness: Sep 5th. Havergate: Aug 5th; two, Aug 7th; two, Aug 13th and 14th; two, Sep 28th. Melton: Sep 17th. Felixstowe Ferry: four, Aug 27th. Landguard: south, Aug 29th. Trimley Marshes: two, Sep 9th; two, Sep 22nd and 23rd. Levington: Creek, Aug 29th; two, Aug 30th; Sep 4th; three, Sep 8th; Sep 10th and 11 th; Sep 23rd; Sep 27th; Oct 28th; Marina, Sep 28th. Lower Holbrook: Aug 30th. Stutton Mill: Sep 8th. Livermere Lake: Sep 10th and 12th. Lackford Lakes: Oct 16th. The Melton bird was not reported in the second winter period. PURPLE SANDPIPER Calidris maritima Fairly common winter visitor. Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. During the first winter period the top site was again Ness Point, Lowestoft and the associated North Beach and Hamilton Dock, with observations on 38 days between January 1st and May 5th. The highest counts were of ten birds, February 21 st and again on April 5 th. There were also nine sightings of one or two birds at Felixstowe Promenade between January 1st and March 19th. Only one other site was involved:Slaughden: Jan 12th; Feb 2nd and 4th. Second winter period records were again bracketed by Ness Point, Lowestoft (and associated areas) with 27 sightings between August 28th and December 31 st. The maximum count was again ten, December 12th. Other observations during this period were a t : Gorleston Harbour: two, Oct 10th. Corton Cliffs: Nov 11th. Minsmere: Sluice, Aug 29th; Oct 13th and 14th. Sizewell Beach: Aug 31st. Thorpeness: Nov 28th. Felixstowe Promenade: Oct 18th; two, Oct 21st; Nov 6th. Landguard: two, Sep 28th; Oct 12th; Oct 17th; two, Nov 10th; Nov 16th; Nov 29th. DUNLIN Calidris alpina Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list. In the first winter period, the only three-figure counts, aside from WeBS, came from the following locations:Breydon South Flats: 700, Jan 1st; 180, Mar 13th; 450. Apr 3rd; 197, May 18th; 373, May 20th. Burgh Castle Flats: 150, Jan 30th. Blythburgh: 1030, Jan 24th. Hen Reedbeds: 130, Jan 17th. Hazlewood Marshes: 120, Feb 21st. Orfordness: 440, Jan max; 304, Feb max; 225, May max. Havergate: 310, Jan 17th; 1078, Feb 21st. Boyton Marshes: 108, Jan 17th. Melton: 1100, Jan 18th. Trimley Marshes: 162, Mar 1st. Levington Creek: 200, Mar 13th. During June counts were recorded only at Trimley Marshes, Havergate, Orfordness and


Suffolk Birci Report


Minsmere, all involving four birds or less. Numbers increased during July, with Flixton Gravel Pits, Thorpeness, Boyton Marsh, Landguard and Livermere Lake added to the four sites above. The highest count was 100 at Orfordness. During the second winter period, three-figure counts, aside from WeBS, came from the following locations:Minsmere: 180, Sep 23rd; 1000 south, Nov 8th; 100 south, Nov 17th; 182, Dec Ist; Dunlin Su Gough 120, Dec 8th. Thorpeness: 702 south, Nov 8th. North Warren: 400, Nov 20th; 140, Dec 4th; 130 Dec 7th; 200, Dec 22nd. Orfordness: 147, Aug max; 107, Sep max; 590 Nov max; 1382, Dec 19th. Havergate: 212, Sep 28th; 104, Oct lOth; 136, Dec 19th. Boyton Marshes: 209, Dec 12th. Landguard; 109 south, Nov 8th. Stour Estuary: Erwarton Park, 4500, Oct 1 Ith; 600, Oct 25th. Shotley Marshes: 700, Nov 23rd. Orwell Bridge: 150, Dec 22nd. WeBS data:Jan Blvth Estuarv Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary

1911 1475 5413

Feb 2743 682 1236 200

Apr 0 33 8 216

Mar 740 762 590 1950

Aug -



Sep 326 76 30 101

Oct 279 767 30 6330

Nov -

1587 1301 6967

Dee 0 3031 2134 72

RUFF Philomachus pugnax Common passage migrant. Small numbers overwinter. Red list. Birds were recorded in every month of the year except, rather surprisingly, in February. Reports were received from 19 sites, of which six were inland (Elveden, Livermere Lake, Lackford, Mickle Mere, Nunnery Floods and Lakenheath Fen). During the first half of the year Minsmere was the most regular site, and three males were displaying to four females there on April 9th (R Drew). Later in the year Trimley Marshes became the most regular source of reports, with a maximum count of nine, August 20th. The counts of 22, Burgh Castle Fiats, January 3rd and 30 at Blythburgh, January 30th were impressive. Counts of ten or more were:Burgh Castle Fiats: 22, Jan 3rd; 17, Mar 7th. Southwold: Golf Course, 13, Oct 3rd; ten, Oct 6th. Walberswick: 12, Jan 15th. Blythburgh: 30, Jan 20th. Minsmere: 12, Mar 26th; 13, Apr 13th; ten, Apr 18th. Thorpeness: 12 south, Aug 24th. JACK SNIPE Lymnocryptes mĂ­nimas Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first winter period showed a huge increase in sightings compared with 2009, (nine observations) with 55 Coming from the coast including five on Orfordness, January 17th and four inland. Of those sightings ten were of two birds, mostly at Minsmere but also Wenhaston, Shingle Street, Tunstall, Lackford and Cornard Mere. Five records occurred in Aprii, and the last spring record came from Barsham Marshes, May 4th.



3. Avocet.

Amanda Hayes

15. Golden Plover at Landguard in September. Chris Mayne

16. Jack Snipe at Minsmere in March. Jon Evans

'• Arctic Skua at Minsmere in September.

Jon Evans

19. Long-eared Owl showing well in a garden at Rendham in Aprii. BiiiBaston

20. Short-eared Ovvi at Southwold in October. lanciake




The first returning bird, being the only one in September, was on 23rd at Old Felixstowe. Thereafter there were 26 further widespread reports including three at Minsmere, October 5th and four at Landguard, October 12th. COMMON SNIPE Gallinago gallinago Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Probably extinct as a breeding species. Amber list The only hints of any breeding activity were three drumming birds at Trimley Marshes, April 17th, four May records and, interestingly, three at Hopton, June 23rd. The following table of WeBS counts and monthly maxima shows the importance of our wetland sites for this species in the winter months:Jan Minsmere1 North Warren* Aide/Ore** 31 Deben 26 Orwell 22 Stour 51 Lakenheath Fen "monthly maxima **includes Orfordrtess

Feb 8 1 2 4 14 17 16 7

Mar 6 -

20 3 40 7 40

Sep 12 2 1 2 0 -


Oct 9 50 6 18 5 13 14

Nov Dec 69 200**Âť 50 135 3 2 10 9 0 25 1 2 - 15

***disturbed during a stock check

First winter significant counts include:Carlton Colville: Peto's Marsh, 80, Mar 21st. Erwarton Park; 35, Jan 2nd. Thurston: Grove Farm, 48, Feb 26th. Mickle Mere: 46, Mar 15th. Thetford: Nunnery Floods, 40, Mar 16th. Those that stand out amongst the passage period were 16 at Great Blakenham, April 8th and 39 at Mickle Mere, April 6th. The first birds of the autumn were singles at Lackford Lakes, July 8th and at Trimley Marshes, July 13th. Three other July sightings at Trimley Marshes included four, 31 st. Apart from eight at Minsmere Levels, September 19th followed by 12, September 27th, numbers didn't pick up until the normal influx in October but other than the table above, few sites had large numbers : Boyton Marshes: 19, Oct 19th; 22, Oct 25th; 16, Nov 16th. Landguard: reported a total of 39 for the autumn period. Brandon Sewage Works: 14, Dec 25th. GREAT SNIPE Gallinago media Very rare visitor: formally a rare passage migrant. Suffolk's third record this century was unfortunately only witnessed by the three finders. The other two records were at Corion, September 13th, 2002 and Covehithe, September 13th, 2003. Covehithe: Oct Ist (C A Buttle, A Riseborough, R Waiden). EURASIAN W O O D C O C K



Declining resident. Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Displaying males in the west were recorded at Cavenham Heath, Stanstead Great Wood, West Stow Heath, Brandon CP, The King's Forest, Thetford Forest and Wordwell between May 3rd and June 22nd. There was also one bird displaying at Lackford Bridge, April 19th. However no confirmed breeding records were received. There were no breeding records in the east of the County with none seen after mid-April. January saw some impressive counts at Waveney Forest, Fritton of birds flying out to


Suffolk Birci Report Haddiscoe Island at dusk including: 56, January 3rd, 46, January 4th, 35, January 5th and 25, January 31 st. Twenty-five were seen in four small fields at Mutford, January 6th.


FIELD NOTE During a heavy snowfalt in January one bird was found sitting in the road at Withermarsh Green, Stoke-by-Nayland on January 6th. S Read

First winter period sightings carne from 48 sites in the north-east, 23 from the south-east and 28 in the west, with the following peak counts:Corton: disused railway line, 14, Jan lOth. Flixton: Decoy, 12, Jan 12th. Somerleyton: Wicker Well, seven, Jan 13th. Oulton: seven, Feb 14th. Aldringham Walks: 19, Feb 3rd. Belstead Brook Park: nine, Jan 9th. Lackford Lakes: six, Jan 5th. Oíd Newton: six, Jan 5th. Ten birds were reported shot on the Boxted Estate in January. Landguard Bird Observatory reported one bird found dead on the tide-line, January 16th and another found dead in the compound, February 9th. One bird reported from Centre Pares, September 25th was probably a roving resident rather than a migrant. October 1 lth saw the start of the autumn influx with one at Sizewell, followed by sightings on 12th at Kessingland (two), Corton, Orfordness and Landguard. Widespread autumn sightings were reported from 40 coastal belt and 18 inland sites. Amongst the múltiple sightings were: Corton: four, Dec 22nd. Belton Marshes: four, Nov 15th. Flixton: Decoy, five, Dec 5th. Oulton: Fisher Row, four, Dec 2nd. Minsmere: six, Dec 17th. Westleton Common: three, Nov 27th. Culford: three, Dec 3rd. Cavenham Heath: three, Dec 5th. Lackford Lakes: three, Dec 5th. Lakenheath Fen: four, Dec 19th. Fifteen were flushed from Sheepwash Spinney, Minsmere, December 30th. A very large total of 119 was counted at Gedgrave, just before dusk, December 31 st (N Lamb). BLACK-TAILED GODWIT Limosa limosa L.l.islándico: Common winter visitor andpassage migrant. Amber list. L.l.limosa: Scarce visitor. Formerly bred. Red list. The year started with three coastal sites reporting a displaying male limosa at each, January lst! However from March 25th to May 18th eight single records of limosa carne in from two sites with displays only seen at Minsmere on May 2nd, May 7th and May 18th. WeBS and monthly counts:Blyth Minsmere* Alde/Ore Orfordness* Deben Orwell HW Stour HW "monthly maxima

Jan Feb 121 % 3 1 62 49 17 5 436 97 149 3 349 460 HW = High Water

Mar 620 55 143 98 443 48 15


Apr 11 335

Aug .


19 -

9 106 503 .vi;175 315 1897 581

Sep 173 7 264 3 246 708 842

Oct 73 2 170 48 622 570 1307

Nov 72 4 343 55 131 32 898

Dec 8 -

64 59 32 376 9



Impressive first winter counts came f r o m : Breydon South Flats: 360, Mar 13th; 640, Mar 24th. Burgh Castle Flats: 249, Feb 27th; 621, Apr 19th. Blythburgh: 296, Jan 24th. Minsmerc: 335, Apr 10th; 1000, Apr 15th. Farnham: Botany Farm, 300, Jan 4th. Snape Marshes: 110, Feb 26th; 100, Apr 4th. Havergate Island: 150, Jan 29th. Butley River: 300, Mar 1st; 148, Mar 23rd. Melton: min 250, Apr 4th. Trimley Marshes: 106, Feb 3rd; rising to 124, Apr 16th. There were six first winter reports from four sites in the west of the County, with the only double-figure count coming from Higham (Hadleigh) involving 20, February 23rd. Once again lack of water at the airfields on Orfordness meant their only three-figure count for the summer period was 106, August 7th. Elsewhere good numbers were mainly in the south with the Butley River holding 253, August 1st, Havergate Island had a maximum of 180, August 13th and on the River Deben at Melton there were 320, August 25th. At Trimley Marshes there were 168, June 26th, 203, July 4th and topping at 216, August 19th. Three sites in the west had summer sightings with Lakenheath Fen having ten birds, July 10th. Apart from 260 on the Blyth Estuary, September 4th the only other high autumn numbers from the north came from North Warren in December with 220, 22nd and 150, 30th. Meanwhile, in the south of the county, 400 were recorded at Pin Mill on the River Orwell, September 3rd and there were 101 at Snape Marshes, October 10th. In the west Gifford's Hall had two birds, November 18th and Lackford Lakes had a singleton, November 27th. BAR-TAILED GODWIT Limosa lapponica Fairly common passage migrant and locally common winter visitor. Amber Counts from our top sites were:Blyth Orfordness* Deben Slour * monthly maxima

Jan 80 2 3 425

Feb 3 22 1 400

Mar 2 3 2 155







4 3 14

5 7 21

5 16 5

Nov 4 3 15 54

list. Dec -

59 33 162

Away from the Blyth, first winter sightings in the north came from just seven sites, with five flying in off the sea at Gunton Beach, January 2nd, 33 at Burgh Castle Flats, January 15th and five at Thorpeness, March 12th being the only counts of more than a single bird. In the south, the River Stour WeBS counts show an impressive number again this year, with other notable counts coming f r o m : Havergate Island: 24, Jan 17th; 11, Mar 14th; 21, Mar 30th. Bawdsey: East Lane, 70, Jan 26th. Kirton Creek: 30, Jan 30th. Peak numbers during spring passage included:Burgh Castle Flats: 13, May 6th. Breydon South Flats: six, May 27th. Orfordness: 32, May 8th. Havergate Island: seven. May 29th, one bird lingering up to June 10th. Melton: River Deben, 12, May 10th. Trimley Marshes: eight, May 2nd. Landguard: 80, north, May 1st. The first returning bird was seen at Minsmere, June 27th with four at Kessingland, July 4th. It was into August before higher numbers appeared with 25 south, August 7th on


Suffolk Birci Report


Orfordness, 40 south at Thorpeness, August 26th and Landguard recording 434 south the same day. The Landguard figure is the highest seawatching day-total since April 21st 2001 when 450 flew north off Thorpeness. Apart from the table above the only double-figure late winter count in the north came from Thorpeness with 15, November 26th. In the south, 14 were at Erwarton Bay on the River Stour, October 11th. There were no reports from West Suffolk for this species in 2010. W H I M B R E L Numenius phaeopus Fairly common passage migrant. Occasionally overwinters. Red list. The first arrivals of the spring were two recorded on the early date of March 14th during the WeBS count on the River Blyth. Another March record was of a single bird at Kessingland on 19th flying south! The first ten days of April saw a trickle of singles apart from four at Minsmere, 3rd. There were ten at Castle Marsh and eight at Burgh Castle Flats, April 19th. The River Deben WeBS count on April 18th recorded 26 birds. Minsmere had 13, April 21st rising to 40 the following day. Orfordness counts include 24, April 24th and 34, April 25th. Peak totals during May included three over 100, the first three-figure site totals in Suffolk since may 7th 2001 when 102 flew north off Kessingland:Burgh Castle Flats: 20, May 5th; 109, May 7th. Castle Marshes: 30, May 1st. Kessingland: 39, May 5th; 106, May 7th; 61, May 8th. Blyth Estuary: 60, May 9th. Orfordness: 24, May 8th; 72 present, May 9th. Havergate Island: 50, May 8th; ten, May 12th; 13, May 19th. Trimley St Martin: 20, May 6th. Landguard: 126, May 7th. Whimbrel were reported from four sites during the spring passage in the west of the County, with a peak of nine flying low over Tuddenham St Mary, May 2nd. The return passage commenced with two at Boyton Marshes, June 26th and three at Orfordness, 27th. Thereafter, as to be expected, the majority of July sightings came from Kessingland, Thorpeness, Orfordness and Havergate Island. Peak passage in August included: 19, Kessingland, 7th; 45, Minsmere, 7th; 71 south off Orfordness, 7th; 14, Lowestoft, 20th and 14, Thorpeness, 24th. In the south Havergate Island saw some impressive totals: 70, August 14th and 80, August 27th. Landguard recorded 44 birds flying south, August 14th. There were 14 widespread coastal reports during September. The last birds of the year were singles at Walberswick, October 9th and Dunwich and Orfordness, October 10th. EURASIAN C U R L E W Numenius arquata Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few pairs breed. Amber list. In the west of the county breeding was confirmed with chicks seen at two sites, and pairs showing breeding behaviour also recorded at two other sites. Counts at the principal estuarine sites were:-

Blyth Aide/Ore Ortbrdness* Deben Orwell Stour * monthly maxima

Jan 59 78 6 449 693 566

Feb 161 329 96 406 499 494

Mar 150 309 115 695 558 55


Apr 4 81 208 188 16

Sep 140 74 51 419 596 361

Oct 30 228 110 428 831 995

Nov 46 171 54 481 567 887

Dec 145 89 275 4 98



Maximum counts were disappointing again on Orfordness with only two reaching triple-figures during the year. The April figure there of 81, relates to birds flying north, 17th. In the north at Henham there were 62 on a ploughed f i e l d January 24th and 503 were recorded at Burgh Castle Flats, March 7th. There were 17 at Fritton, March 23rd. In the south of the county there were 70, at Erwarton Park, January 2nd and 62 at Kirton Marshes, January 30th. Good counts of 276, March 1 st and 100, April 18th were made on the Butley River. Seven birds flying north off Kessingland May 7 th were probably the tail-enders of the passage north. Away from the breeding areas in the west, seven coastal sites reported birds in June with four being seen at Snape Warren, 5th and nine at Havergate Island, 29th. As in 2009, July saw the peak of return movements, albeit at much lower figures:kessingland: 82, July (max 28, 2nd); nine, Aug. Thorpeness: 25 July; 23 in Aug (max ten, 3rd). Butley River: 100, July 18th. Landguard: 163 during July (max of 41 south, 1st). As with the light autumn passage, late-summer gatherings were also on the low side, those of three figures included 144, Butley River, August 1st and 104, Boyton Marshes, September 5th. The only double-figure count from the north towards the end of the year came from Burgh Castle Marshes with 65, November 25th. In the south, Snape Marshes had 53, October 10th, Hollesley Marshes held 33, October 14th, 60, October 24th and 69, November 28th, Sudbourne Marshes 150, November 21st and the Butley River 80, December 5th.


Curlew Su Gough


Suffolk Birds 2010 Part 1  

Volume 60

Suffolk Birds 2010 Part 1  

Volume 60